violent or tumultuous motion; agitation; noisy disturbance: What's all the commotion in the hallway?
political or social disturbance or upheaval; sedition; insurrection.

Origin of commotion

1520–30; < Latin commōtiōn- (stem of commōtiō), equivalent to commōt(us) past participle of commovēre to commove + -iōn- -ion
Related formscom·mo·tion·al, adjectivecom·mo·tive, adjective

Synonyms for commotion

Synonym study

1. See ado. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for commotion

Contemporary Examples of commotion

Historical Examples of commotion

  • The commotion of pursuit and investigation was sweeping past her tent.

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

  • Behind her she heard the commotion of many men descending the companionway.

    The Monster Men

    Edgar Rice Burroughs

  • He had fastened it down, when a loud noise and commotion was heard in the street.

    The Channings

    Mrs. Henry Wood

  • Nevertheless, what a commotion it would all cause in the parliamentary duck-pond.

  • Upstairs Dan's attention had been attracted by the commotion in front of the inn.

British Dictionary definitions for commotion



violent disturbance; upheaval
political insurrection; disorder
a confused noise; din
Derived Formscommotional, adjective

Word Origin for commotion

C15: from Latin commōtiō, from commovēre to throw into disorder, from com- (intensive) + movēre to move
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

Word Origin and History for commotion

late 14c., from Middle French commocion "violent motion, agitation" (12c., Modern French commotion), from Latin commotionem (nominative commotio) "violent motion, agitation," noun of action from past participle stem of commovere "to move, disturb," from com- "together," or "thoroughly" (see com-) + movere "to move" (see move (v.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with commotion


see cause a commotion.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.