perturbation

[pur-ter-bey-shuhn]
noun
1.
the act of perturbing.
2.
the state of being perturbed.
3.
mental disquiet, disturbance, or agitation.
4.
a cause of mental disquiet, disturbance, or agitation.
5.
Astronomy. deviation of a celestial body from a regular orbit about its primary, caused by the presence of one or more other bodies that act upon the celestial body.

Origin:
1325–75; < Latin perturbātiōn- (stem of perturbātiō; see perturb, -ation); replacing Middle English perturbacioun < Anglo-French < Latin, as above

perturbational, adjective
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World English Dictionary
perturbation (ˌpɜːtəˈbeɪʃən)
 
n
1.  the act of perturbing or the state of being perturbed
2.  a cause of disturbance or upset
3.  physics a secondary influence on a system that modifies simple behaviour, such as the effect of the other electrons on one electron in an atom
4.  astronomy a small continuous deviation in the inclination and eccentricity of the orbit of a planet or comet, due to the attraction of neighbouring planets

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
perturbation   (pûr'tər-bā'shən)  Pronunciation Key 
  1. A small change in a physical system, most often in a physical system at equilibrium that is disturbed from the outside.

  2. Variation in a designated orbit, as of a planet, that results from the influence of one or more external bodies. Gravitational attraction between planets can cause perturbations and cause a planet to deviate from its expected orbit. Perturbations in Neptune's orbit led to the discovery of the object that was causing the perturbation—the planet Pluto. Perturbations in the orbits of stars have led to the discovery of planetary systems outside of our solar system.


The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
If you achieve this, then side gusts of wind and random perturbations are
  self-correcting instead of self-amplifying.
So when a crystal has become triangular, other perturbations cannot change its
  shape further.
Less well recognized is that our social and economic systems are also highly
  sensitive to climate perturbations.
The quantum-mechanical bond entangling two particles is so delicate, it can be
  broken by any number of outside perturbations.
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