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


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)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • 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.

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  • 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.


  • 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


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

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