Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To break up or destroy the tranquility, order, or settled state of.
  • transitive verb To trouble emotionally or mentally; upset.
  • transitive verb To interfere with; interrupt.
  • transitive verb To intrude on; inconvenience.
  • transitive verb Physics To alter or displace a region of (a medium) from its equilibrium state.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Disturbance.
  • 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.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

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

Etymologies

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

[Middle English distourben, from Old French destourber, from Latin disturbāre : Latin dis-, dis- + Latin turbāre, to agitate (from turba, confusion, probably from Greek turbē).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Latin disturbare, intensifying for turbare ("to throw into disorder").

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?

  • 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

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