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From Old French tumultuous (modern French tumultueux), from Latin tumultuōsus (restless, turbulent), from tumultus (disturbance, uproar, violent commotion, tumult; agitation, disturbance, excitement)[1] + -ōsus (suffix meaning ‘full of, prone to’ forming adjectives from nouns).



tumultuous (comparative more tumultuous, superlative most tumultuous)

  1. Characterized by loud, confused noise. [from mid 16th c.]
    Synonyms: noisy, uproarious, see also Thesaurus:noisy
  2. Causing or characterized by tumult; chaotic, disorderly, turbulent. [from mid 16th c.]
    Synonyms: riotous, tempestuous, tumultuary, see also Thesaurus:disorderly
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book IV”, in Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books, London: Printed [by Samuel Simmons], and are to be sold by Peter Parker [] [a]nd by Robert Boulter [] [a]nd Matthias Walker, [], OCLC 228722708; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: The Text Exactly Reproduced from the First Edition of 1667: [], London: Basil Montagu Pickering [], 1873, OCLC 230729554, lines 13–18:
      Yet not rejoycing in his [Satan's] ſpeed, though bold, / Far off and fearleſs, nor with cauſe to boaſt, / Begins his dire attempt, with nigh the birth / Now rowling, boiles in his tumultuous breſt, / And like a devilliſh Engine back recoiles, / Upon himſelf; []
    • 1715 July 24, Samuel Rosewell, The Unreasonableness of the Present Riotous and Tumultuous Proceedings: As are Directed against His Majesty King George; and His Faithful Subjects, the Protestant Dissenters: [], London: Printed for M. Lawrence, [], OCLC 863417390, page 17:
      And ſeeing theſe Tumultuous and Rebellious Men do more immediately vent their Malice on ſome of their Fellow-Subjects and Fellow-Protestants, who will be true to their Oaths, and their Obligations to the King, whom God has placed over them, may not one humbly ask, As for theſe Sheep, what have they done? What Cauſe is there whereby an Account may be given of theſe tumultuous Inſurrections against them?
    • 1822, [Walter Scott], chapter V, in Peveril of the Peak. [...] In Four Volumes, volume IV, Edinburgh: Printed for Archibald Constable and Co.; London: Hurst, Robinson, and Co., OCLC 2392685, page 108:
      The old cavalier stooped his head in token of acquiescence in the command of his Sovereign, but he raised it not again. The tumultuous agitation of the moment had been too much for spirits which had been long in a state of depression, and health which was much decayed.
    • 1913, Booth Tarkington, chapter 5, in The Flirt, Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, Page & Company, OCLC 1079137728, page 71:
      She leaned very slowly closer and yet closer to the mirror; a rich colour spread over her; her eyes, gazing into themselves, became dreamy, inexpressibly wistful, cloudily sweet; her breath was tumultuous.
    • 2017 March 1, Anthony Zurcher, “Trump Addresses Congress: A Kinder, Gentler President”, in BBC News[1], archived from the original on 2 February 2018:
      In his first address to a joint session of Congress, after a tumultuous first month in office, Mr [Donald] Trump delivered a conventional speech in a conventional manner.


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