From Middle English destourben, from Anglo-Norman distourber and Old French destorber, from Latin disturbare, intensifying for turbare (“to throw into disorder”), ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *(s)twerH-, *(s)turH- (“to rotate, swirl, twirl, move around”).
- (transitive) to confuse a quiet, constant state or a calm, continuous flow, in particular: thoughts, actions or liquids.
- The noisy ventilation disturbed me during the exam.
- The performance was disturbed twice by a ringing mobile phone.
- A school of fish disturbed the water.
- (transitive) to divert, redirect, or alter by disturbing.
- A mudslide disturbed the course of the river.
- The trauma disturbed his mind.
- (intransitive) to have a negative emotional impact; to cause emotional distress or confusion.
- A disturbing film that tries to explore the mind of a serial killer.
- His behaviour is very disturbing.