tur·​bu·​lent | \ ˈtər-byə-lənt How to pronounce turbulent (audio) \

Definition of turbulent

1a : exhibiting physical turbulence turbulent air
b : characterized by agitation or tumult : tempestuous a turbulent marriage
2 : causing unrest, violence, or disturbance a set of mischievous, turbulent rebels— Anne Brönte

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Other Words from turbulent

turbulently adverb

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Some people lead turbulent lives, and some are constantly in the grip of turbulent emotions. The late 1960s are remembered as turbulent years of social revolution in America and Europe. Often the captain of an airplane will warn passengers to fasten their seatbelts because of upper-air turbulence, which can make for a bumpy ride. El Niño, a seasonal current of warm water in the Pacific Ocean, may create turbulence in the winds across the United States, affecting patterns of rainfall and temperature as well.

Examples of turbulent in a Sentence

Turbulent waters caused the boat to capsize. The sixties were a turbulent period in American history.
Recent Examples on the Web Families of the victims condemned the move, with critics saying that the country’s political leadership was trying to shield itself from accountability for the largest explosion in the turbulent country’s history. New York Times, 14 Oct. 2021 Biden’s approval rating is down after a turbulent summer, and impatience is growing, particularly among House members heading into tough elections and eager to show voters an accomplishment. Lisa Mascaro, ajc, 14 Oct. 2021 Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme and his ex-wife Brody Dalle faced off in a Los Angeles courtroom Wednesday as Dalle, founder of the punk band The Distillers, pleaded not guilty to contempt in their turbulent child custody battle. Nancy Dillon, Rolling Stone, 13 Oct. 2021 And after two years of operating through a turbulent pandemic, Foko is making some big plans for the future, setting into motion a new catering program, a sister bakery and even plans for a brick-and-mortar sit-down restaurant. Dahlia Ghabour, The Courier-Journal, 13 Oct. 2021 The winds picked up and the water became more turbulent, prompting me to scramble back to the beach. Lila Seidman, Los Angeles Times, 13 Oct. 2021 Wednesday's launch came amid a somewhat turbulent time for Blue Origin, which is engaged in a public lawsuit with NASA over the agency's selection of rival SpaceX for astronaut moon landers. Hanneke Weitering, Scientific American, 13 Oct. 2021 Associated Press story from earlier this year detailed Walker's turbulent history and Walker has been open about his struggles with mental illness and dissociative identity disorder. Adam Brewster, CBS News, 11 Oct. 2021 On one hand, reminders of its turbulent past are everywhere. Lindsay Cohn, Travel + Leisure, 11 Oct. 2021

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

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First Known Use of turbulent

1538, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for turbulent

Latin turbulentus, from turba confusion, crowd — more at turbid

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Time Traveler for turbulent

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The first known use of turbulent was in 1538

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Dictionary Entries Near turbulent



turbulent flow

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Last Updated

17 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Turbulent.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/turbulent. Accessed 28 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for turbulent



English Language Learners Definition of turbulent

: moving in an irregular or violent way
: full of confusion, violence, or disorder : not stable or steady


tur·​bu·​lent | \ ˈtər-byə-lənt How to pronounce turbulent (audio) \

Kids Definition of turbulent

: causing or being in a state of unrest, violence, or disturbance turbulent protests turbulent weather

More from Merriam-Webster on turbulent

Nglish: Translation of turbulent for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of turbulent for Arabic Speakers


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