Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To break up or destroy the tranquillity or settled state of: "Subterranean fires and deep unrest disturb the whole area” ( Rachel Carson).
  • transitive v. To trouble emotionally or mentally; upset.
  • transitive v. To interfere with; interrupt: noise that disturbed my sleep.
  • transitive v. To intrude on; inconvenience: Constant calls disturbed her work.
  • transitive v. To put out of order; disarrange.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. to confuse a quiet, constant state or a calm, continuous flow, in particular: thoughts, actions or liquids.
  • v. to divert, redirect, or alter by disturbing.
  • v. to have a negative emotional impact; to cause emotional distress or confusion.
  • n. disturbance

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Disturbance.
  • transitive v. To throw into disorder or confusion; to derange; to interrupt the settled state of; to excite from a state of rest.
  • transitive v. To agitate the mind of; to deprive of tranquillity; to disquiet; to render uneasy.
  • transitive v. To turn from a regular or designed course.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To stir; trouble; agitate; molest; move from a state of rest or tranquillity: as, to disturb a sleeper; to disturb the sediment.
  • To move or agitate; discompose; disquiet; throw into perplexity or confusion.
  • To interfere with; interrupt; hinder; incommode; derange.
  • To turn aside; cause to deviate; throw out of course or order.
  • Synonyms To disorder, unsettle, molest
  • To perplex, trouble, annoy, vex, worry, plague.
  • To impede, interrupt.
  • n. Disturbance.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. damage as if by shaking or jarring
  • v. tamper with
  • v. destroy the peace or tranquility of
  • v. move deeply
  • v. change the arrangement or position of

Etymologies

Middle English distourben, from Old French destourber, from Latin disturbāre : Latin dis-, dis- + Latin turbāre, to agitate (from turba, confusion, probably from Greek turbē).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Latin disturbare, intensifying for turbare ("to throw into disorder"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Let the limitation of the word disturb our previous estimate of Paradise, grant that it so disturbs that estimate, not the less all such consequences leave the dispute exactly where it was; and if a balance of reason can be found for limiting the extent of the word _aeonian_, it will not be the less true because it may happen to disturb a crotchet of our own.

    Theological Essays and Other Papers — Volume 1

  • Horace Greeley, editor of the "New York Tribune," the leading Republican journal of the North, contented himself with referring to Brown and his followers as "mistaken men," but added that he would "not by one reproachful word disturb the bloody shrouds wherein John Brown and his compatriots are sleeping."

    The end of an era,

  • Next came leasing for deer and with long deer seasons, many don't want to "disturb" the deer on their lease by squirrel hunting.

    What Happened to Squirrel Hunting?

  • What does kind of disturb me is the possibility that this fete might involve hiring a michael jackson impersonator.

    Regretsy – WTF Alchemy Request

  • Anger she had none, but apprehension and conceptions strange, such as disturb the awakened soul of woman, ere the storm of passion comes to overcharge it.

    Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine — Volume 53, No. 330, April 1843

  • The distinction is this, if he is obliged to act, do not "disturb" him with another subject of thought just yet; help him to do what he wants to do; but, if he has done this, or if nothing can be done, then "disturb" him by all means.

    Notes on Nursing: What It Is, and What It Is Not

  • As confused dreams, frightful and perplexed, and such as disturb the sleep, are an evidence of a hurry of business which fills our head, so many words and hasty ones, used in prayer, are an evidence of folly reigning in the heart, ignorance of and unacquaintedness with both God and ourselves, low thoughts of God, and careless thoughts of our own souls.

    Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume III (Job to Song of Solomon)

  • He has vowed to defy government warnings not to "disturb" the country's stability and continue his political work.

    Raw Story

  • Holding the KSM trial downtown will cost too much money, says the mayor, and "disturb" too many people.

    Salon

  • Tin Oo was to visit the fabled Shwe Dagon pagoda in Yangon on Sunday and vowed to be at the offices of the NLD the next day - ignoring an official warning to shun activities that would "disturb" the country after his release.

    The Daily Star > News Feed

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