Definition of disturb in English:



[with object]
  • 1Interfere with the normal arrangement or functioning of.

    ‘take the rollers out carefully so as not to disturb the curls too much’
    • ‘Both are sweetly humane, and both derive their power from the telling of common lives disturbed and destroyed by World War II.’
    • ‘If the police catch you disturbing the crime scene, you'll be in big trouble.’
    • ‘We got in trouble twice for disturbing the band practice because we were laughing, just to give you an idea.’
    • ‘These activities not only disturb bees but also interfere with normal pollen production, germination, and fertilization.’
    • ‘They came upon a patch of earth that indeed looked like it had been slept on, or disturbed in some way.’
    • ‘It disturbed the agenda, and patients seemed to be distracted from the subject that made them seek health care in the first place.’
    • ‘If this arrangement is disturbed, the body sickens; if it is sufficiently upset, the body dies.’
    • ‘Mounds and surface burrows interfere with mowing and mole activities may disturb root systems and kill grass.’
    • ‘‘Clearly, the whistling and clacking disturbs the workplace and disrupts communications,’ the judge ruled.’
    • ‘Schizophrenia is a disabling mental illness where disordered thinking disturbs an individual's ability to function normally in society.’
    • ‘Residents are being warned that it is illegal to disturb or destroy their habitats.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Intracellular accumulation of such large amount of Cr may disturb the normal functioning of the bacterial cell.’
    • ‘A small interference with nature can disturb the entire balance.’
    • ‘The whole rationale of symbolic gestures requires that they disrupt and disturb the secular order.’
    • ‘The balance is deeply disturbed at this point in human history.’
    • ‘We will not allow silly disruptions to disturb our events or disgrace our veterans.’
    • ‘Sometimes this clock is disturbed and disrupts this 24-hour cycle.’
    • ‘The method destroys or disturbs delicate, slow-growing seabed communities.’
    • ‘The youths regularly interrupt church meetings and have even disturbed a wedding service.’
    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’
    • ‘You'd think he was Batman, upset that I disturbed him in the Cave.’
    • ‘Nobody disturbed them or caused them any hassle.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I didn't want my privacy disturbed, but he's already here.’
    • ‘If you did not disturb them, they would not bother you.’
    • ‘As though sensing that he would not further disturb her privacy, Nicholas turned and bestowed a tender smile upon her.’
    • ‘They claim the children are disturbing their privacy by glaring into their homes and using the road as a cycle track.’
    • ‘They simply play when no one will interrupt or disturb them.’
    • ‘Julius elbowed Felix, knowing the interruption would disturb Mordechi.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    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’
    • ‘"We are deeply disturbed to learn from our government that this British company was working with Iran.’
    • ‘The more disturbing aspect of this story is the amount of angsty torture they're putting their fictional selves through.’
    • ‘There was a new found concentration and direction in his voice which she understood but which also frightened and disturbed her.’
    • ‘The hull cooled with loud popping and creaking sounds that were more than slightly disturbing to hear.’
    • ‘The state of the world concerns and disturbs many artists.’
    • ‘As a preliminary matter, I'm somewhat disturbed by the fact that this report is classified.’
    • ‘My parents were disturbed by me, worried about me finding a career.’
    • ‘The gossips were let loose on me which really disturbed my peace of mind.’
    • ‘Naturally, as is the way of these things, disturbing reports started to surface.’
    • ‘May was a bit disturbed to find that her dad was standing there taking pictures of the weird statue.’
    • ‘That was an anxious time, and the children were quite disturbed by it.’
    • ‘By sundown some of us began to be disturbed about the lack of privacy.’
    • ‘Suicide must be one of the saddest, most deeply disturbing ways of dying.’
    • ‘I actually found that description quite disturbing on many levels.’
    • ‘Some of the causal violence depicted early on is actually quite disturbing to watch.’
    • ‘One of the more disturbing aspects is the condition in which the bodies were discovered.’
    • ‘But one of the most disturbing scenes was left silent.’
    • ‘On one occasion she asked if a neighbour would buy her some drugs, which upset and disturbed the neighbour and her young son.’
    • ‘Nothing had changed, which was comforting and a bit disturbing at the same time.’
    • ‘Springfield Hospital also objected, fearing mental health patients could be disturbed by the activity.’
    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’).