perturb

To perturb is to bug or bother someone by confusing them or throwing them off balance. You can try, but it's almost impossible to perturb the guards outside Buckingham Palace.

If you're having trouble getting used to the word perturb, you're in luck! It's similar in meaning to the verb "disturb." That's right, to perturb is to disturb, but in a way that suggests you're throwing it off its usual path or routine. The movie Born Free truly perturbed widespread views about animals—people suddenly started seeing them as individuals. If you stare at a person you don't know, it won't be long before you perturb them.

Primary Meanings of perturb

1.
v
disturb in mind or make uneasy or cause to be worried or alarmed
2.
v
disturb or interfere with the usual path of an electron or atom
Full Definitions of perturb
1

v disturb in mind or make uneasy or cause to be worried or alarmed

“She was rather perturbed by the news that her father was seriously ill”
Synonyms:
cark, disorder, disquiet, distract, trouble, unhinge
Types:
show 4 types...
hide 4 types...
vex, worry
disturb the peace of mind of; afflict with mental agitation or distress
misgive
suggest fear or doubt
eat, eat on
worry or cause anxiety in a persistent way
nag
worry persistently
Type of:
disturb, trouble, upset
move deeply

v throw into great confusion or disorder

“Fundamental Islamicists threaten to perturb the social order in Algeria and Egypt”
Synonyms:
derange, throw out of kilter
Type of:
disarray, disorder
bring disorder to
2

v disturb or interfere with the usual path of an electron or atom

“The electrons were perturbed by the passing ion”
Type of:
deviate
cause to turn away from a previous or expected course

v cause a celestial body to deviate from a theoretically regular orbital motion, especially as a result of interposed or extraordinary gravitational pull

“The orbits of these stars were perturbed by the passings of a comet”
Type of:
deviate
cause to turn away from a previous or expected course

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