Definition of disturbance in US English:



  • 1The interruption of a settled and peaceful condition.

    ‘a helicopter landing can cause disturbance to residents’
    • ‘Teenagers who gather there at night are also being blamed by nearby residents for noise and disturbance.’
    • ‘But at that time the club agreed to close the premises by 11.45 pm, after residents voiced their fears of extra late night noise and disturbance.’
    • ‘However, he acknowledged that there was a high degree of disturbance for residents due to noise.’
    • ‘The proposal would have a detrimental effect on the amenities of neighbouring residents due to noise and disturbance.’
    • ‘I had expected a degree of disturbance and interruption as I switched over to Retirement Pension from Incapacity Benefit, and still do.’
    • ‘Try to find a quiet place that has no possibility of disturbance or interruption.’
    • ‘They will fine them and make them pay for the fare and deal with any disturbance.’
    • ‘Goliath continued, wanting no disturbance or interruption in his clarification.’
    • ‘The proposal to move the vans was to reduce disturbance to residents of the new Kiln Corner housing development.’
    • ‘If confronted with a disturbance or disruption, simply cover the cage with the blanket to give the bird a feeling of security.’
    • ‘Youths in Great Horton, Bradford, volunteered to clean up the area after residents complained about noise disturbance and litter.’
    • ‘When it is observed in libraries, the purpose is to ensure peaceful atmosphere so that students can study without any disturbance.’
    • ‘This came after strong protests from West Chiswick residents over extra traffic and disturbance in the area.’
    • ‘It is very rare that you encounter its residents, who never cause any fuss or disturbance.’
    • ‘Freedom from disturbance is the condition that causes human happiness, and this is the ethical goal.’
    • ‘There are often addicts calling at all times of the day and night and a lot of noise disturbance.’
    • ‘During the day I doubt it is a problem, but during quieter night time hours it is likely to cause disturbance to local residents.’
    • ‘The committee received objections from two residents worried about increased traffic and potential disturbance to the resting place of bats.’
    • ‘The youngsters volunteered to carry the stretcher - with as little disturbance as possible - in very difficult conditions.’
    • ‘He said: ‘Residents do not need this disturbance and we want to see the travellers move on as soon as possible.’’
    disruption, distraction, interference, bother, trouble, inconvenience, upset, annoyance, irritation
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    1. 1.1 A breakdown of peaceful and law-abiding behavior; a riot.
      ‘the disturbances were precipitated when four men were refused bail’
      • ‘Four Italian football fans were fined by magistrates after a violent disturbance at Stansted Airport.’
      • ‘Security firms do not have the legal power to deal with disturbances, they cannot physically arrest someone.’
      • ‘Allegations that her comments caused a disturbance at Bradford Magistrates Court between white and Asian youths proved to be unfounded.’
      • ‘The state defines unlawful assembly as a threat of ‘tumultuous disturbance of the peace.’’
      • ‘In addition, with the more amorphously defined ‘public order’ offences, criteria of what constitutes a disturbance are situationally variable.’
      • ‘Both men were charged with causing an unlawful disturbance.’
      • ‘According to Bulgarian border police, the group had caused a disturbance of the peace and were not fit to enter the country.’
      • ‘After all, we have been accused of causing a public disturbance, disrupting the peace.’
      • ‘It argued that, in the absence of the pricing rules, there would be civil disturbances, blockades, and violence.’
      • ‘Charges vary, including unlawful assembly, causing a disturbance, and assaulting and obstructing a police officer.’
      • ‘In such environments, the legal price that can be exacted for protest increases commensurate with the disturbance and threat that protest produces.’
      • ‘Further, an unjustifiable disturbance in family life by an arbitrary separation of child and parents would engage Article 8.’
      • ‘The villagers captured one of the hired gunmen and dragged him off to the police station only to be arrested for causing a disturbance.’
      • ‘The militia, it seems, managed to quell the disturbance without too much difficulty.’
      • ‘A report will be submitted to the procurator fiscal following a disturbance in the Ferry Inn, Stromness, on Wednesday afternoon.’
      • ‘A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said they were called to the disturbance and when they arrived a number of people had already left.’
      • ‘Others said police statistics would never reflect the real amount of disturbance because residents did not report everything.’
      • ‘Police detained them for causing a disturbance, although officers took their petition and passed it on.’
      • ‘The people gathered round then debated what ‘damages’ she would have to pay to the community for having caused a disturbance of the peace.’
      • ‘The applicants were involved in a protest which had led to a violent disturbance.’
      riot, fracas, affray, upheaval, brawl, street fight, melee, free-for-all
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    2. 1.2 The disruption of healthy functioning.
      ‘her severe mental disturbance was diagnosed as schizophrenia’
      • ‘Their skin also becomes discoloured and their personality becomes morbid due to the mental disturbance that accompanies the condition.’
      • ‘The basic abnormality is a disturbance in normal function in the smooth-muscled part of the esophagus.’
      • ‘Out of the love for her work, Ye Sha adheres to the night shift, regardless of the disturbance from her chronic headache.’
      • ‘This is due to a disturbance of immune function resulting in the body not recognising its own tissue as its own and hence leading to reactions against it.’
      • ‘This can cause ammonia accumulation due to a disturbance in mitochondrial function in the liver that inhibits the urea cycle.’
      • ‘Did you ever see any sign of a mental disturbance with him?’
      • ‘Psychiatrists have a social role in controlling mental disturbance through the Mental Health Act.’
      • ‘Some patients may become unable to breathe sufficiently after severe infection or other disturbance of lung function.’
      • ‘Sleep disturbance, seasonal affective disorders and the nocturnal polyuria of diabetes are related to abnormal biorhythm.’
      • ‘Other reports have cited severe and uncontrollable pain or bleeding, major injury with shock, impending birth, and uncontrollable mental disturbance.’
      • ‘But physical disturbances from outside the embryo can have the same effect.’
      • ‘Some affected people suffer mental disturbances such as delirium, hallucinations, and even psychotic behaviour.’
      • ‘A diagnosis is usually made based on the description of the mental disturbance, risk factors and family history.’
      • ‘The installation of this phone booth is definitely creating physical danger and mental disturbance to local as well as visiting pedestrians.’
      • ‘The second group consisted of a man and a woman whose disturbances placed them at physical risk.’
      • ‘At times the disturbance was so severe as to bring him to the edge of madness.’
      • ‘The assumption is that, well these people had a mental disturbance or mental illness, that's why they did what they did.’
      • ‘Those children lucky enough to survive the disease may have persistent mental or neurological disturbances.’
      • ‘Emotions were simply physiological disturbances that could become attached over time to a wide range of different stimuli.’
      • ‘Their personal problems and mental disturbances did not disturb brisk activities.’
      trouble, perturbation, distress, concern, worry, upset
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    3. 1.3Meteorology A local variation from normal or average wind conditions, usually a small tornado or cyclone.
      • ‘That disturbance in the winds, in turn, affects the ocean surface, roughing it up in some places and smoothing it in others.’
      • ‘It can also test in a tandem mode to detect wind disturbance induced by one car following another.’
      • ‘They also said the radar may have been disrupted by disturbances in the atmosphere.’
      • ‘After wind disturbance, managed forests are generally salvaged to minimize economic losses.’
      • ‘The strong brightening of the aurora on 28 January corresponded with the recent arrival of a large disturbance in the solar wind.’
    4. 1.4Law Interference with rights or property; molestation.
      • ‘Authorities charged them both with trespassing, peace disturbance, and resisting arrest.’
      • ‘Compensation can also be claimed in respect of damage to the remaining property and disturbance.’
      • ‘Such construction would minimise property disturbance whilst complying with the topography of the terrain.’
      • ‘Twelve Britons are due to appear in court later today after being arrested for public order offences following yesterday's disturbance.’
      • ‘Police said the allegations against the nine Britons still held, ranged from bodily injury to robbery or disturbance of public order.’


Middle English: from Old French destourbance, from destourber (see disturb).