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From Middle English disturbaunce, from Old French destorbance, destourbance, from destourber (disturb), from Latin disturbō. By surface analysis, disturb +‎ -ance.



disturbance (countable and uncountable, plural disturbances)

  1. The act of disturbing, being disturbed.
  2. Something that disturbs.
    That guy causes a lot of trouble, you know, he’s such a disturbance.
  3. A noisy commotion that causes a hubbub or interruption.
  4. An interruption of that which is normal or regular.
    Hyponym: flutter in the dovecote
    • 2012 January, Donald Worster, “A Drier and Hotter Future”, in American Scientist[1], volume 100, number 1, archived from the original on 26 January 2012, page 70:
      Phoenix and Lubbock are both caught in severe drought, and it is going to get much worse. We may see many such [dust] storms in the decades ahead, along with species extinctions, radical disturbance of ecosystems, and intensified social conflict over land and water. Welcome to the Anthropocene, the epoch when humans have become a major geological and climatic force.
  5. (psychology) A serious mental imbalance or illness.


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