tur·​moil | \ˈtər-ˌmȯi(-ə)l \

Definition of turmoil 

: a state or condition of extreme confusion, agitation, or commotion

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of turmoil in a Sentence

The country has been in turmoil for the past 10 years. a period of political turmoil His life has been in a constant turmoil.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

The dollar hit a year-plus high ahead of the U.S. midterm elections as investors sought safety amid turmoil in other markets. Gunjan Banerji, WSJ, "U.S. Dollar Up as Fed Signals December Rate Rise," 8 Nov. 2018 The Ahvaz attack has further shaken Iran, already facing turmoil in the wake of the American withdraw from Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers. Fox News, "Iran holds funerals for victims of terror attack in Ahvaz," 24 Sep. 2018 That is the kind of irony that attended the resignation under pressure of Federico Sturzenegger as governor of Argentina’s central bank on June 14th, a casualty of deepening turmoil in emerging markets. The Economist, "Why countries like Argentina and Turkey fret about exchange rates," 21 June 2018 Before the court ruling in March 2017 that upheld Park’s impeachment and formally drove her from office, South Korea was embroiled in its worst political turmoil in decades. Washington Post, "World Digest: July 10, 2018," 10 July 2018 But also, in the larger ‘verse, there are a million Carters, kids who can’t talk to their families about their emotional turmoil. Rebecca Farley, refinery29.com, "The Fosters Moves Out: Saying Goodbye To TV's Most Temperate Family Drama," 7 June 2018 The Socialist Party and Podemos, which have been battling their own internal political turmoil, aren’t eager to hold general elections ahead of schedule. Jeannette Neumann, WSJ, "Spain’s Opposition Seeks to Oust Rajoy in Confidence Vote," 25 May 2018 His turmoil feels as real as those stitches, and why not? Gary Thompson, Philly.com, "In the neo-Western 'The Rider,' the cowboy and the Indian are the same person," 25 Apr. 2018 But their son’s turmoil was unending, Gary later told a detective. Alden Woods, azcentral, "Bentinho Massaro's Sedona Experiment: How the search for enlightenment led to a digital cult," 18 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'turmoil.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of turmoil

1526, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for turmoil

origin unknown

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about turmoil

Statistics for turmoil

Last Updated

18 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for turmoil

The first known use of turmoil was in 1526

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for turmoil



English Language Learners Definition of turmoil

: a state of confusion or disorder


tur·​moil | \ˈtər-ˌmȯil \

Kids Definition of turmoil

: a very confused or disturbed state or condition … Tom made an honest effort to study, but the turmoil within him was too great.— Mark Twain, Tom Sawyer

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on turmoil

What made you want to look up turmoil? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


by force of circumstances

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!