Definitions

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

  • transitive v. To disturb greatly; make uneasy or anxious.
  • transitive v. To throw into great confusion.
  • transitive v. Physics & Astronomy To cause perturbation, as of a celestial orbit.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To disturb; to bother or unsettle.
  • v. To slightly modify the motion of an object.
  • v. To modify the motion of a body by exerting a gravitational force.
  • v. To modify slightly, such as an equation or value.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To disturb; to agitate; to vex; to trouble; to disquiet.
  • transitive v. To disorder; to confuse.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To disturb greatly; agitate; disquiet.
  • To disorder; confuse; cause irregularity in.

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

  • v. disturb in mind or make uneasy or cause to be worried or alarmed
  • v. throw into great confusion or disorder
  • v. disturb or interfere with the usual path of an electron or atom
  • v. cause a celestial body to deviate from a theoretically regular orbital motion, especially as a result of interposed or extraordinary gravitational pull

Etymologies

Middle English perturben, from Old French perturber, from Latin perturbāre : per-, per- + turbāre, to throw into disorder (from turba, confusion, perhaps from Greek turbē).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English perturben, from Old French perturber, from Latin perturbare ("throw into confusion, confuse, disorder, disturb"), from per ("through") + turbare ("to confuse, disturb"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • On the contrary, check which phone calls perturb your mental health and give you a headache.

    Doctors say prolonged mobile conversations are ok

  • It was an off the cuff remark, it was not meant to "perturb" you.

    The Bitch Is Back

  • It used to kind of perturb me the way she'd say that.

    CNN Transcript Jun 10, 2008

  • It used to kind of perturb me the way she's say that.

    CNN Transcript Jun 10, 2008

  • In short, true believers are much less likely to have an Aunt Susan or pal Al to perturb their unquestioning faith.

    American Grace

  • The fact that they are unable to spend even their current budget properly doesn't perturb the bureaucrats.

    Spend Better, Not More

  • In some sense, i suppose you could talk about the “stability” of the set of axioms defining your theory, i.e., how they behave if you “perturb” them — in some sense, a measure of how “robust” your chosen set of axioms is.

    The Language of Science – it’s “just a theory”

  • Nothing much, a bit of carelessness, yet enough to bring the professional wrath of Doctor Bicknell about his ears and to perturb the working of the staff and nurses for twenty-four hours to come.

    SEMPER IDEM

  • His slightest frown might perturb them, his anger terrify them, his command compel them to certain death; yet, on the other hand, not one of them would have dreamed of addressing him otherwise than intimately by his first name, which name, "Hardman," was transmuted by their tongues into Kanaka

    THE BONES OF KAHEKILI

  • Fletcher's performance highlighted a problem that must perturb Redknapp despite his insouciance – Emmanuel Adebayor seems to be going off the boil.

    Adebayor goes off boil to leave Spurs short of steam against Wolves

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