A disturbance is a noisy commotion that causes a hubbub or interruption. It can also be a worried mental state.

In hotels, people put up "Do not disturb" signs when they want to be left alone. That's a good clue to what a disturbance is: something, usually noisy or rowdy, that bothers people. An audience member yelling during a piano concert would be a disturbance. Disturbances can also be interruptions, like a disturbance in cable service when the cable goes out. Disturbances can also be mental: if you're worried or anxious, that's a type of internal disturbance.

Definitions of disturbance
  1. noun
    activity that is a malfunction, intrusion, or interruption
    “he looked around for the source of the disturbance
    “there was a disturbance of neural function”
    synonyms: perturbation
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    bother, fuss, hassle, trouble
    an angry disturbance
    magnetic storm
    a sudden disturbance of the earth's magnetic field; caused by emission of particles from the sun
    type of:
    any specific behavior
  2. noun
    the act of disturbing something or someone; setting something in motion
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    carnival, circus
    a frenetic disorganized (and often comic) disturbance suggestive of a large public entertainment
    disorganisation, disorganization
    the disturbance of a systematic arrangement causing disorder and confusion
    disruption, perturbation
    the act of causing disorder
    commotion, din, ruckus, ruction, rumpus, tumult
    the act of making a noisy disturbance
    furor, furore
    a sudden outburst (as of protest)
    havoc, mayhem
    violent and needless disturbance
    battle royal, melee, scrimmage
    a noisy riotous fight
    agitation, excitement, hullabaloo, turmoil, upheaval
    disturbance usually in protest
    outburst, tumultuous disturbance
    a sudden violent disturbance
    rampage, violent disorder
    violently angry and destructive behavior
    derangement, overthrow, upset
    the act of disturbing the mind or body
    a confused disturbance far greater than its cause merits
    breakdown, dislocation
    the act of disrupting an established order so it fails to continue
    surprisal, surprise
    the act of surprising someone
    an outrageous rampage usually involving sexual attacks by men on women
    ado, bustle, flurry, fuss, hustle, stir
    a rapid active commotion
    type of:
    motility, motion, move, movement
    a change of position that does not entail a change of location
  3. noun
    a disorderly outburst or tumult
    “they were amazed by the furious disturbance they had caused”
    synonyms: commotion, disruption, flutter, hoo-ha, hoo-hah, hurly burly, kerfuffle, to-do
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    convulsion, turmoil, upheaval
    a violent disturbance
    a disturbance that is extremely disruptive
    a public disturbance
    splash, stir
    a prominent or sensational but short-lived news event
    maelstrom, storm, tempest
    a violent commotion or disturbance
    storm center, storm centre
    a center of trouble or disturbance
    garboil, tumult, tumultuousness, uproar, zoo
    a state of commotion and noise and confusion
    a state of violent disturbance and excitement
    type of:
    a disturbance of the peace or of public order
  4. noun
    a noisy fight
    synonyms: affray, fray, ruffle
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    type of:
    combat, fight, fighting, scrap
    the act of fighting; any contest or struggle
  5. noun
    an unhappy and worried mental state
    “there was too much anger and disturbance
    synonyms: perturbation, upset
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    type of:
    a mental state of extreme emotional disturbance
  6. noun
    electrical or acoustic activity that can disturb communication
    synonyms: interference, noise
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    unwanted echoes that interfere with the observation of signals on a radar screen
    background, background signal
    extraneous signals that can be confused with the phenomenon to be observed or measured
    XT, crosstalk
    the presence of an unwanted signal via an accidental coupling
    a gradual temporary loss of a transmitted signal due to electrical disturbances
    small rapid variations in a waveform resulting from fluctuations in the voltage supply or mechanical vibrations or other sources
    atmospheric static, atmospherics, static
    a crackling or hissing noise caused by electrical interference
    white noise
    a noise produced by a stimulus containing all of the audible frequencies of vibration
    background noise, ground noise
    extraneous noise contaminating sound measurements that cannot be separated from the desired signal
    background radiation
    radiation coming from sources other than those being observed
    radio noise
    static at radio wavelengths
    type of:
    an event causing distress or pain
  7. noun
    (psychiatry) a psychological disorder of thought or emotion; a more neutral term than mental illness
    synonyms: folie, mental disorder, mental disturbance, psychological disorder
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    Asperger's syndrome
    a psychiatric disorder usually noted during early school years; characterized by impaired social relations and by repetitive patterns of behavior
    anxiety disorder
    a cover term for a variety of mental disorders in which severe anxiety is a salient symptom
    psychosomatic disorder
    a mental disorder that causes somatic symptoms
    a disorder in one's mental state
    conversion disorder, conversion hysteria, conversion reaction
    a mental disorder characterized by the conversion of mental conflict into somatic forms (into paralysis or anesthesia having no apparent cause)
    a usually brief state of excitement and mental confusion often accompanied by hallucinations
    delusional disorder
    any mental disorder in which delusions play a significant role
    involuntary defecation not attributable to physical defects or illness
    folie a deux
    the simultaneous occurrence of symptoms of a mental disorder (as delusions) in two persons who are closely related (as siblings or man and wife)
    personality disorder
    inflexible and maladaptive patterns of behavior
    affective disorder, emotional disorder, emotional disturbance, major affective disorder
    any mental disorder not caused by detectable organic abnormalities of the brain and in which a major disturbance of emotions is predominant
    resembling schizophrenia but remaining within the bounds of normality
    neurosis, neuroticism, psychoneurosis
    a mental or personality disturbance not attributable to any known neurological or organic dysfunction
    dissociative disorder
    dissociation so severe that the usually integrated functions of consciousness and perception of self break down
    GAD, anxiety reaction, generalized anxiety disorder
    an anxiety disorder characterized by chronic free-floating anxiety and such symptoms as tension or sweating or trembling or lightheadedness or irritability etc that has lasted for more than six months
    obsessive-compulsive disorder
    an anxiety disorder characterized by recurrent and persistent thoughts and feelings and repetitive, ritualized behaviors
    panic disorder
    an anxiety disorder characterized by unpredictable panic attacks; the attacks are usually severe but brief
    phobia, phobic disorder, phobic neurosis
    an anxiety disorder characterized by extreme and irrational fear of simple things or social situations
    PTSD, posttraumatic stress disorder
    an anxiety disorder associated with serious traumatic events and characterized by such symptoms as survivor guilt, reliving the trauma in dreams, numbness and lack of involvement with reality, or recurrent thoughts and images
    glove anesthesia
    a mental disorder involving loss of sensitivity in the hand and wrist
    the condition of being unable to adapt properly to your environment with resulting emotional instability
    antisocial personality disorder, psychopathic personality, sociopathic personality
    a personality disorder characterized by amorality and lack of affect; capable of violent acts without guilt feelings (`psychopathic personality' was once widely used but was superseded by `sociopathic personality' to indicate the social aspects of the disorder, but now `antisocial personality disorder' is the preferred term)
    schizoid, schizotypal personality
    characterized by symptoms similar to but less severe than schizophrenia
    clinical depression, depression, depressive disorder
    a state of depression and anhedonia so severe as to require clinical intervention
    mania, manic disorder
    a mood disorder; an affective disorder in which the victim tends to respond excessively and sometimes violently
    bipolar disorder, manic depression, manic depressive illness, manic-depressive psychosis
    a mental disorder characterized by episodes of mania and depression
    hysteria, hysterical neurosis
    neurotic disorder characterized by violent emotional outbreaks and disturbances of sensory and motor functions
    anxiety neurosis
    characterized by diffuse anxiety and often somatic manifestations of fear
    depersonalisation, depersonalisation disorder, depersonalisation neurosis, depersonalization, depersonalization disorder, depersonalization neurosis
    emotional dissociative disorder in which there is loss of contact with your own personal reality accompanied by feelings of unreality and strangeness
    fugue, psychogenic fugue
    dissociative disorder in which a person forgets who they are and leaves home to create a new life; during the fugue there is no memory of the former life; after recovering there is no memory for events during the dissociative state
    multiple personality, split personality
    a relatively rare dissociative disorder in which the usual integrity of the personality breaks down and two or more independent personalities emerge
    type of:
    disorder, upset
    a physical condition in which there is a disturbance of normal functioning
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