being in a state of agitation or tumult; disturbed: turbulent feelings or emotions.
characterized by, or showing disturbance, disorder, etc.: the turbulent years.
given to acts of violence and aggression: the turbulent young soldiers.

Origin of turbulent

1530–40; < Latin turbulentus restless, equivalent to turb(a) turmoil + -ulentus -ulent
Related formstur·bu·lent·ly, adverbun·tur·bu·lent, adjectiveun·tur·bu·lent·ly, adverb

Synonyms for turbulent

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for turbulent

Contemporary Examples of turbulent

Historical Examples of turbulent

  • Every one, even in a turbulent, ill-disciplined life, should do the same.

    De Profundis

    Oscar Wilde

  • Confused and turbulent as Tiverton had become, Nicholas Oldfield settled her at once.

    Tiverton Tales

    Alice Brown

  • The events of that day dropped out of my mind in the turbulent weeks that followed.

    The Harbor

    Ernest Poole

  • We sell the thrones of angels for a short and turbulent pleasure.

    Essays, First Series

    Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • This bred high tempers, turbulent manners and contempt for the weak.

    Blood and Iron

    John Hubert Greusel

British Dictionary definitions for turbulent



being in a state of turbulence
wild or insubordinate; unruly
Derived Formsturbulently, adverb

Word Origin for turbulent

C16: from Latin turbulentus, from turba confusion
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 turbulent

1530s, "disorderly, tumultuous, unruly" (of persons), from Middle French turbulent (12c.), from Latin turbulentus "full of commotion, restless," from turba "turmoil, crowd" (see turbid). In reference to weather, attested from 1570s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper