See more synonyms for disturb on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object)
  1. to interrupt the quiet, rest, peace, or order of; unsettle.
  2. to interfere with; interrupt; hinder: Please do not disturb me when I'm working.
  3. to interfere with the arrangement, order, or harmony of; disarrange: to disturb the papers on her desk.
  4. to perplex; trouble: to be disturbed by strange behavior.
verb (used without object)
  1. to cause disturbance to someone's sleep, rest, etc.: Do not disturb.

Origin of disturb

1175–1225; Middle English disto(u)rben, disturben < Anglo-French disto(u)rber, desturber < Latin disturbāre to demolish, upset, equivalent to dis- dis-1 + turbāre to confuse
Related formsdis·turb·er, nounpre·dis·turb, verb (used with object)

Synonyms for disturb

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for disturb

Contemporary Examples of disturb

Historical Examples of disturb

  • When they do not disturb him with earthly medicines, he is quiet and happy.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • If, however great the cause, I fret myself I disturb the right conditions.

  • It could disturb no one if Mrs. Roberts tried her little experiment.

  • No other noise could disturb us but the cackling of hens and the quacking of ducks.

    The Roof of France

    Matilda Betham-Edwards

  • Perhaps superior; for, above the sky, there would be angels to disturb him.

    The Man of Adamant

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

British Dictionary definitions for disturb


verb (tr)
  1. to intrude on; interrupt
  2. to destroy or interrupt the quietness or peace of
  3. to disarrange; muddle
  4. (often passive) to upset or agitate; troubleI am disturbed at your bad news
  5. to inconvenience; put outdon't disturb yourself on my account
Derived Formsdisturber, noun

Word Origin for disturb

C13: from Latin disturbāre, from dis- 1 + turbāre to confuse
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 disturb

c.1300, "to stop or hinder," from Old French destorber (Old North French distourber) and directly from Latin disturbare "throw into disorder," from dis- "completely" (see dis-) + turbare "to disorder, disturb," from turba "turmoil" (see turbid).

Meaning "to frighten" is late 13c.; that of "to stir up, agitate" is c.1300. Related: Disturbed; disturbing; disturbingly. Middle English also had distourbler (n.) "one who disturbs or incites" (late 14c.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper