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.

Definitions of perturb
  1. verb
    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
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    vex, worry
    disturb the peace of mind of; afflict with mental agitation or distress
    suggest fear or doubt
    eat, eat on
    worry or cause anxiety in a persistent way
    worry persistently
    type of:
    disturb, trouble, upset
    move deeply
  2. verb
    throw into great confusion or disorder
    synonyms: derange, throw out of kilter
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    type of:
    disarray, disorder
    bring disorder to
  3. verb
    disturb or interfere with the usual path of an electron or atom
    “The electrons were perturbed by the passing ion”
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    type of:
    cause to turn away from a previous or expected course
  4. verb
    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”
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    type of:
    cause to turn away from a previous or expected course
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