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

Origin of turmoil

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

Synonyms for turmoil

Synonym study

1. See agitation.

Antonyms for turmoil

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

Examples from the Web for turmoils

Historical Examples of turmoils

  • Longfellow's main vocation was away from the turmoils of the hour.

    The Negro and the Nation

    George S. Merriam

  • The turmoils of his visit and his departure were great indeed.

    The Moonshiners At Hoho-Hebee Falls

    Charles Egbert Craddock (AKA Mary Noailles Murfree)

  • His fame has gone before him in this region, remote as it is from the turmoils of the world.

    A True Hero

    W.H.G. Kingston

  • In the silence of the night time when turmoils and strife are o'er.

  • It is not every man who can wrest vast wealth from the turmoils of a “Black Friday.”

    The Arena


British Dictionary definitions for turmoils



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 turmoils



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 Attested earlier in English as a verb (1510s), though this now is obsolete.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