[ tur-moil ]
/ ˈtɜr mɔɪl /


a state of great commotion, confusion, or disturbance; tumult; agitation; disquiet: mental turmoil caused by difficult decisions.
Obsolete. harassing labor.

Nearby words

  1. turlock,
  2. turlough,
  3. turmaline,
  4. turmeric,
  5. turmeric paper,
  6. turn,
  7. turn a blind eye to,
  8. turn a deaf ear,
  9. turn a hair, not,
  10. turn a trick

Origin of turmoil

1505–15; orig. as v.: to agitate; etymology uncertain; perhaps tur(n) + moil

Synonym study

1. See agitation.

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

Examples from the Web for turmoil

British Dictionary definitions for turmoil


/ (ˈtɜːmɔɪl) /


violent or confused movement; agitation; tumult


archaic to make or become turbulent

Word Origin for turmoil

C16: perhaps from turn + moil

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 turmoil



1520s, perhaps an alteration of Middle French tremouille "mill hopper," in reference to the hopper's constant motion to and fro, from Latin trimodia "vessel containing three modii," from modius, a Roman dry measure, related to modus "measure." Attested earlier in English as a verb (1510s), though this now is obsolete.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper