• synonyms


[tur-byuh-luh ns]
  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

Examples from the Web for turbulency

Historical Examples

  • It was a breezy afternoon, with some turbulency in the camp, and much windy discussion over this unwonted delay of justice.

    Found At Blazing Star

    Bret Harte

British Dictionary definitions for turbulency


rarely turbulency (ˈtɜːbjʊˌlənsɪ)

  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 turbulency



1590s; see turbulent + -ence.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

turbulency in Science


  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.