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[tur-byuh-luh nt] /ˈtɜr byə lənt/
being in a state of agitation or tumult; disturbed:
turbulent feelings or emotions.
characterized by, or showing disturbance, disorder, etc.:
the turbulent years.
given to acts of violence and aggression:
the turbulent young soldiers.
Origin of turbulent
1530-40; < Latin turbulentus restless, equivalent to turb(a) turmoil + -ulentus -ulent
Related forms
turbulently, adverb
unturbulent, adjective
unturbulently, adverb
1. agitated, tumultuous, violent, tempestuous, disordered. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for turbulent
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Every one, even in a turbulent, ill-disciplined life, should do the same.

    De Profundis Oscar Wilde
  • Confused and turbulent as Tiverton had become, Nicholas Oldfield settled her at once.

    Tiverton Tales Alice Brown
  • The events of that day dropped out of my mind in the turbulent weeks that followed.

    The Harbor Ernest Poole
  • We sell the thrones of angels for a short and turbulent pleasure.

    Essays, First Series Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • This bred high tempers, turbulent manners and contempt for the weak.

    Blood and Iron John Hubert Greusel
British Dictionary definitions for turbulent


being in a state of turbulence
wild or insubordinate; unruly
Derived Forms
turbulently, adverb
Word Origin
C16: from Latin turbulentus, from turba confusion
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for turbulent

1530s, "disorderly, tumultuous, unruly" (of persons), from Middle French turbulent (12c.), from Latin turbulentus "full of commotion, restless," from turba "turmoil, crowd" (see turbid). In reference to weather, attested from 1570s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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