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[per-turb] /pərˈtɜrb/
verb (used with object)
to disturb or disquiet greatly in mind; agitate.
to throw into great disorder; derange.
Astronomy. to cause perturbation in the orbit of (a celestial body).
Origin of perturb
1325-75; Middle English perturben (< Old French perturber) < Latin perturbāre to throw into confusion, equivalent to per- per- + turbāre to disturb; see turbid
Related forms
perturbable, adjective
perturbability, noun
[pur-ter-bey-shuh s] /ˌpɜr tərˈbeɪ ʃəs/ (Show IPA),
[per-tur-bid-lee] /pərˈtɜr bɪd li/ (Show IPA),
perturbedness, noun
perturber, perturbator
[pur-ter-bey-ter] /ˈpɜr tərˌbeɪ tər/ (Show IPA),
perturbingly, adverb
perturbment, noun
nonperturbable, adjective
nonperturbing, adjective
unperturbable, adjective
unperturbed, adjective
unperturbing, adjective
1. trouble. 2. confuse, addle, muddle.
1. pacify. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for perturb
Historical Examples
  • They are perturbed by the sun, of course, but they also perturb each other, and Jupiter is far from spherical.

    Pioneers of Science Oliver Lodge
  • “Do not perturb yourself, I beg of you,” she said in a sympathetic voice.

    The Stretton Street Affair William Le Queux
  • His levity seemed to displease and perturb the woman; she turned from him with an impatient movement of her shoulders.

    The Black Bag Louis Joseph Vance
  • The only consequence of their smallness is their inability to perturb others.

    Pioneers of Science Oliver Lodge
  • In spite of his good qualities, Kortes was a thorough Neopalian; it needed much to perturb him.

    Phroso Anthony Hope
  • What, then, are the things that oppress127 us and perturb us?

  • He was paler than usual, but his face was composed and kindly and her agitation did not appear to perturb him.

    Summer Edith Wharton
  • And how, indeed, beyond all any, that stormy and perturb'd age!

    Complete Prose Works Walt Whitman
  • The Irish members, in the second place, perturb and falsify the whole system of party government.

  • The information did not perturb her, and her coolness was a challenge.

    Smoke Bellew Jack London
British Dictionary definitions for perturb


verb (transitive; often passive)
to disturb the composure of; trouble
to throw into disorder
(physics, astronomy) to cause (a planet, electron, etc) to undergo a perturbation
Derived Forms
perturbable, adjective
perturbably, adverb
perturbing, adjective
perturbingly, adverb
Word Origin
C14: from Old French pertourber, from Latin perturbāre to confuse, from per- (intensive) + turbāre to agitate, from turba confusion
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for perturb

late 14c., from Old French perturber "disturb, confuse" (14c.) and directly from Latin perturbare "to confuse, disorder, disturb," especially of states of the mind, from per- "through" (see per) + turbare "disturb, confuse," from turba "turmoil, crowd" (see turbid). Related: Perturbed; perturbing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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