Definition of tempestuous in US English:



  • 1Characterized by strong and turbulent or conflicting emotion.

    ‘he had a reckless and tempestuous streak’
    • ‘Only at that climactic moment - after extended tempestuous debate, jockeying, and tactical manoeuvres - was the Speaker's political preference made clear.’
    • ‘She doesn't know Corinne, has no experience of the depth and complexity and interlinked contradictions that make up this intense, tempestuous, extraordinary woman.’
    • ‘It's basically about a relationship, a passionate tempestuous relationship.’
    • ‘He is assertive, abrasive and aggressive, a tempestuous man of passion.’
    • ‘I think I have a much more tempestuous and eventful amorous life than the average middle-class citizen, but I wouldn't agree that I necessarily behaved dishonourably.’
    • ‘Basketball's tempestuous superstar had been ordered to stay at the house since prosecutors said last week they would charge him and his uncle with assault, terroristic threats and related offences.’
    • ‘Gone was the mercurial, tempestuous socialite who didn't know what she wanted, swung from mood to mood, loved childish games, or danced the night away.’
    • ‘It is still hard to fathom how it is that people can be so tempestuous, so very emotionally self-indulgent, around those who really shouldn't be expected to put up with it.’
    • ‘Parents under pressure may be less tolerant of tempestuous adolescent behavior, he believes, causing additional conflict.’
    • ‘The General often seems to use reason and intelligence to paper over an emotionally tempestuous nature, and I wonder if his reaction to being ruled out of the running to lead Europe might have had something to do with this statement's odd-ness.’
    • ‘Your relationships have been tempestuous, right?’
    • ‘She'd be childlike, tempestuous and unpredictable.’
    • ‘At the basic level Scarlett is a tempestuous heroine out of a bodice-ripping historical novel, a focus for fantasy projection on the part of far more sedate women.’
    • ‘Scorpios are supposedly the most passionate, stormy and sensitive sign of the zodiac and choosing gifts for these types can be tricky - on the one hand you have an easily hurt lovebunny, on the other, a tempestuous individual.’
    • ‘The potentially damaging book comes after an apparent thawing of relations between the prime minister and his chancellor, with well placed insiders saying the often tempestuous relationship is on its most even keel in years.’
    • ‘It's said that he is ‘difficult’, ‘broody’, ‘paranoid’ and afflicted by a tempestuous and confrontational character.’
    • ‘A fiery, tempestuous reading of the Allegro non troppo had just the right contrasting hues of aristocratic grace.’
    • ‘He had a tempestuous life in turbulent times.’
    • ‘He brought strong intensity and passion to Bellini's tempestuous masterpiece.’
    • ‘As a Third World postcolonial feminist scholar and activist, I look back to my tempestuous teenage years in India, when my heroes were great revolutionaries.’
    turbulent, stormy, tumultuous, violent, wild, lively, heated, explosive, uncontrolled, unrestrained, feverish, hysterical, frenetic, frenzied, frantic
    emotional, passionate, intense, impassioned, fiery, temperamental
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  • 2Very stormy.

    ‘a tempestuous wind’
    • ‘It will be a difficult task as the ship has become overloaded, capricious and the ocean is tempestuous.’
    • ‘The offshore waters are typically tempestuous, but winds in the channel's eastern bight will be only 10 to 15 knots.’
    • ‘Azure blue and tranquil one moment when kissed by the sun and flattened by breeze; tempestuous and grey the next, whipped by fierce wind and powerful current.’
    • ‘It's common knowledge that the tempestuous winter months put our vehicles through greater stress and strain, and can often make minor imperfections into major malfunctions.’
    • ‘And if tempestuous catabatic winds blow, the itinerary allows plenty of time to wait them out in four-season tents.’
    • ‘They were tossed upon a tempestuous sea.’
    • ‘His eyes were stormy green, like a tempestuous patch of sky right before the tornado siren goes off, with a layer of translucent blue like the heavens beneath fluffy clouds.’
    • ‘We see single plants on a beach, cliffs beside water pressing in on the painter, the waves still or tempestuous, reflecting the wild vagaries of his mind.’
    • ‘What induced this stormy outburst on this tempestuous May morning?’
    • ‘She frequently braves tempestuous weather in the little eight-seater Britton Norman, specially designed to cope with the wilds of the North Sea, and similar to the planes they use in the Antarctic.’
    • ‘But not long after there arose against it a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon.’
    • ‘His peaceful white face was turned full towards the sky — a livid shadow falling upon it from the tempestuous clouds.’
    • ‘Unforgiving dry, and tempestuous rainy seasons ensure that mankind's foothold here will forever be tenuous.’
    stormy, blustery, squally, wild, turbulent, windy, gusty, blowy, rainy, thundery, rough, choppy
    turbulent, stormy, tumultuous, violent, wild, lively, heated, explosive, uncontrolled, unrestrained, feverish, hysterical, frenetic, frenzied, frantic
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Late Middle English: from late Latin tempestuosus, from Latin tempestas (see tempest).