lack of rest; a restless, troubled, or uneasy state; disquiet: the unrest within himself.
disturbance or turmoil; agitation: political unrest.

Origin of unrest

Middle English word dating back to 1300–50; see origin at un-1, rest1
Related formsun·rest·ing, adjective

Synonyms for unrest

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

Examples from the Web for unrest

Contemporary Examples of unrest

Historical Examples of unrest

  • The sound disturbed him, bringing premonitions of the city's unrest.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Italy in 1899 was passing through a period of humiliation and unrest.

  • This was a realm of unrest and tempest, which the devils claimed as belonging to themselves.


    Benjamin Taylor

  • It was not the rights or wrongs, or the significance of it, that inspired his unrest.

    The Golden Woman

    Ridgwell Cullum

  • Hassim had learned also that the Settlement was in a state of unrest as if on the eve of war.

    The Rescue

    Joseph Conrad

British Dictionary definitions for unrest



a troubled or rebellious state of discontent
an uneasy or troubled state
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 unrest

mid-14c., from un- (2) + rest (n.). Cf. West Frisian onrest, Middle Low German unreste, German unrast, Middle Dutch onruste.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper