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[tur-moil] /ˈtɜr mɔɪl/
a state of great commotion, confusion, or disturbance; tumult; agitation; disquiet:
mental turmoil caused by difficult decisions.
Obsolete. harassing labor.
Origin of turmoil
1505-15; orig. as v.: to agitate; etymology uncertain; perhaps tur(n) + moil
1. turbulence, disorder, uproar.
1. order, quiet.
Synonym Study
1. See agitation. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for turmoils
Historical Examples
  • Longfellow's main vocation was away from the turmoils of the hour.

    The Negro and the Nation George S. Merriam
  • The turmoils of his visit and his departure were great indeed.

    The Moonshiners At Hoho-Hebee Falls Charles Egbert Craddock (AKA Mary Noailles Murfree)
  • His fame has gone before him in this region, remote as it is from the turmoils of the world.

    A True Hero W.H.G. Kingston
  • In the silence of the night time when turmoils and strife are o'er.

    The Secret of the Creation Howard D. Pollyen
  • It is not every man who can wrest vast wealth from the turmoils of a “Black Friday.”

    The Arena Various
  • Living at Poitiers Radegund was close to the scene of these turmoils.

    Woman under Monasticism Lina Eckenstein
  • After the Maccaban turmoils the inhabitants seem to have deserted the tell.

    Archology and the Bible George A. Barton
  • But, after all the uncertainties and turmoils, this bitter peace had its balms.


    Anne Douglas Sedgwick
  • In the midst of these turmoils Mr. Ellery was with the people and for freedom.

  • Without doubt it had its squabbles, its turmoils, its excitements.

    Fifth Avenue

    Arthur Bartlett Maurice
British Dictionary definitions for turmoils


violent or confused movement; agitation; tumult
(archaic) to make or become turbulent
Word Origin
C16: perhaps from turn + moil
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 turmoils



1520s, perhaps an alteration of Middle French tremouille "mill hopper," in reference to the hopper's constant motion to and fro, from Latin trimodia "vessel containing three modii," from modius, a Roman dry measure, related to modus "measure." Attested earlier in English as a verb (1510s), though this now is obsolete.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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