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turbulence

[tur-byuh-luh ns]
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noun
  1. the quality or state of being turbulent; violent disorder or commotion.
  2. Hydraulics. the haphazard secondary motion caused by eddies within a moving fluid.
  3. Meteorology. irregular motion of the atmosphere, as that indicated by gusts and lulls in the wind.
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Sometimes tur·bu·len·cy.

Origin of turbulence

From the Late Latin word turbulentia, dating back to 1590–1600. See turbulent, -ence
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

turmoil, disturbance, confusion, unrest, tumult, instability, conflict, frenzy, commotion, unruliness, agitation, fury, bluster, havoc, fight, uproar, fracas, disorder

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British Dictionary definitions for turbulence

turbulence

rarely turbulency (ˈtɜːbjʊˌlənsɪ)

noun
  1. a state or condition of confusion, movement, or agitation; disorder
  2. meteorol local instability in the atmosphere, oceans, or rivers
  3. turbulent flow in a liquid or gas
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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 turbulence

n.

1590s; see turbulent + -ence.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

turbulence in Science

turbulence

[tûrbyə-ləns]
  1. Chaotic or unstable eddying motion in a fluid. Avoiding excessive turbulence generated around moving objects (such as airplanes), which can make their motion inefficient and difficult to control, is a major factor in aerodynamic design.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.