Definition of disturb in English:



  • 1Interfere with the normal arrangement or functioning of.

    ‘take the rollers out carefully so as not to disturb the curls too much’
    • ‘The balance is deeply disturbed at this point in human history.’
    • ‘They came upon a patch of earth that indeed looked like it had been slept on, or disturbed in some way.’
    • ‘‘Clearly, the whistling and clacking disturbs the workplace and disrupts communications,’ the judge ruled.’
    • ‘A small interference with nature can disturb the entire balance.’
    • ‘Residents are being warned that it is illegal to disturb or destroy their habitats.’
    • ‘The method destroys or disturbs delicate, slow-growing seabed communities.’
    • ‘These activities not only disturb bees but also interfere with normal pollen production, germination, and fertilization.’
    • ‘If this arrangement is disturbed, the body sickens; if it is sufficiently upset, the body dies.’
    • ‘Intracellular accumulation of such large amount of Cr may disturb the normal functioning of the bacterial cell.’
    • ‘The whole rationale of symbolic gestures requires that they disrupt and disturb the secular order.’
    • ‘It disturbed the agenda, and patients seemed to be distracted from the subject that made them seek health care in the first place.’
    • ‘Schizophrenia is a disabling mental illness where disordered thinking disturbs an individual's ability to function normally in society.’
    • ‘We will not allow silly disruptions to disturb our events or disgrace our veterans.’
    • ‘We got in trouble twice for disturbing the band practice because we were laughing, just to give you an idea.’
    • ‘This caused quite a commotion as he didn't take kindly to my interruption and asked who was I to question him and disturb his presentation.’
    • ‘Mounds and surface burrows interfere with mowing and mole activities may disturb root systems and kill grass.’
    • ‘Sometimes this clock is disturbed and disrupts this 24-hour cycle.’
    • ‘The youths regularly interrupt church meetings and have even disturbed a wedding service.’
    • ‘If the police catch you disturbing the crime scene, you'll be in big trouble.’
    • ‘Both are sweetly humane, and both derive their power from the telling of common lives disturbed and destroyed by World War II.’
    disarrange, muddle, rearrange, disorganize, disorder, mix up, interfere with
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  • 2Interrupt the sleep, relaxation, or privacy of.

    ‘I'll see my patient now and we are not to be disturbed’
    • ‘They simply play when no one will interrupt or disturb them.’
    • ‘I didn't want my privacy disturbed, but he's already here.’
    • ‘And no one will be able to disturb the privacy of the bathroom, as the bottom of the window is a little higher than the tub.’
    • ‘As though sensing that he would not further disturb her privacy, Nicholas turned and bestowed a tender smile upon her.’
    • ‘You'd think he was Batman, upset that I disturbed him in the Cave.’
    • ‘They claim the children are disturbing their privacy by glaring into their homes and using the road as a cycle track.’
    • ‘Julius elbowed Felix, knowing the interruption would disturb Mordechi.’
    • ‘If you did not disturb them, they would not bother you.’
    • ‘We are conscious, dealing with victims, that no offence except the most serious assaults so trouble and disturb people as an invasion of their homes.’
    • ‘But his privacy was disturbed by the arrival of Hightail looking impressively fat.’
    • ‘But one day he disturbed her privacy and barged into her room, presumably to force more work on her, while she had it out.’
    • ‘Nobody disturbed them or caused them any hassle.’
    interrupt, intrude on, butt in on, barge in on
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  • 3Make (someone) anxious.

    ‘I am disturbed by the document I have just read’
    • ‘As a preliminary matter, I'm somewhat disturbed by the fact that this report is classified.’
    • ‘The gossips were let loose on me which really disturbed my peace of mind.’
    • ‘That was an anxious time, and the children were quite disturbed by it.’
    • ‘Naturally, as is the way of these things, disturbing reports started to surface.’
    • ‘Some of the causal violence depicted early on is actually quite disturbing to watch.’
    • ‘On one occasion she asked if a neighbour would buy her some drugs, which upset and disturbed the neighbour and her young son.’
    • ‘"We are deeply disturbed to learn from our government that this British company was working with Iran.’
    • ‘One of the more disturbing aspects is the condition in which the bodies were discovered.’
    • ‘There was a new found concentration and direction in his voice which she understood but which also frightened and disturbed her.’
    • ‘The more disturbing aspect of this story is the amount of angsty torture they're putting their fictional selves through.’
    • ‘Suicide must be one of the saddest, most deeply disturbing ways of dying.’
    • ‘May was a bit disturbed to find that her dad was standing there taking pictures of the weird statue.’
    • ‘By sundown some of us began to be disturbed about the lack of privacy.’
    • ‘But one of the most disturbing scenes was left silent.’
    • ‘Springfield Hospital also objected, fearing mental health patients could be disturbed by the activity.’
    • ‘Nothing had changed, which was comforting and a bit disturbing at the same time.’
    • ‘The state of the world concerns and disturbs many artists.’
    • ‘The hull cooled with loud popping and creaking sounds that were more than slightly disturbing to hear.’
    • ‘I actually found that description quite disturbing on many levels.’
    • ‘My parents were disturbed by me, worried about me finding a career.’
    worrying, perturbing, troubling, concerning, upsetting
    perturb, trouble, concern, worry, upset
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Middle English: from Old French destourber, from Latin disturbare, from dis- ‘utterly’ + turbare ‘disturb’ (from turba ‘tumult’).