Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


1. Unsettled, broken up, or altered in structure or function: disturbed soil.
2. Being or resulting from being emotionally or mentally troubled: taught disturbed children; sent disturbed messages.


(Psychiatry) psychiatry emotionally upset, troubled, or maladjusted



1. marked by symptoms of mental illness.
2. agitated or distressed; disrupted.


1. 'disturb'

If you disturb someone, you interrupt what they are doing and cause them inconvenience.

If she's asleep, don't disturb her.
Sorry to disturb you, but can I use your telephone?
2. 'disturbed'

The adjective disturbed has a different meaning. A disturbed person is very upset emotionally and often needs special care or treatment. When disturbed has this meaning, it comes in front of a noun.

They help emotionally disturbed youngsters.

If someone is disturbed, they are very worried. When disturbed has this meaning, it comes after a linking verb.

He was disturbed by the news of the attack.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adj.1.disturbed - having the place or position changed; "the disturbed books and papers on her desk"; "disturbed grass showed where the horse had passed"
disarranged - having the arrangement disturbed; not in order; "her disarranged hair"
2.disturbed - afflicted with or marked by anxious uneasiness or trouble or griefdisturbed - afflicted with or marked by anxious uneasiness or trouble or grief; "too upset to say anything"; "spent many disquieted moments"; "distressed about her son's leaving home"; "lapsed into disturbed sleep"; "worried parents"; "a worried frown"; "one last worried check of the sleeping children"
troubled - characterized by or indicative of distress or affliction or danger or need; "troubled areas"; "fell into a troubled sleep"; "a troubled expression"; "troubled teenagers"
3.disturbed - emotionally unstable and having difficulty coping with personal relationshipsdisturbed - emotionally unstable and having difficulty coping with personal relationships
psychoneurotic, neurotic - affected with emotional disorder
4.disturbed - affected with madness or insanitydisturbed - affected with madness or insanity; "a man who had gone mad"
insane - afflicted with or characteristic of mental derangement; "was declared insane"; "insane laughter"


1. (Psychiatry) unbalanced, troubled, disordered, unstable, neurotic, upset, deranged, unsound, maladjusted The murderer was apparently mentally disturbed.
unbalanced balanced, untroubled
2. worried, concerned, troubled, upset, bothered, nervous, anxious, uneasy, agitated, disquieted, apprehensive, antsy (informal), angsty (informal) I was disturbed to find that the dog was dead.
worried calm, untroubled, unfazed (informal), collected, self-possessed


[dɪsˈtɜːbd] ADJ
1. (= worried) → preocupado, angustiado; (= upset) → afectado
I was disturbed to hear thatme afectó mucho el enterarme de que ...
he was disturbed thatle preocupaba que ... + subjun, le inquietaba que ... + subjun
2. (Psych)
2.1. (= unhappy) [childhood, adolescence] → problemático
children from disturbed backgroundsniños que proceden de hogares con problemas
2.2. (= unbalanced) [person, mind] → trastornado; [behaviour] → desequilibrado
she is very disturbedestá muy trastornadatiene muchos problemas mentales
to be emotionally/mentally disturbedtener trastornos afectivos/mentales
3. (= interrupted) [sleep] → interrumpido
to have a disturbed nightdormir mal


[dɪˈstɜːrbd] adj
(= anxious, worried) [person] → agité(e), troublé(e)
to be disturbed that ... → être inquiet/iète que ...
to be disturbed about sth → être perturbé(e) par qch
(= unhappy) [childhood, relationship] → perturbé(e), troublé(e); [background] → instable
(= traumatised, damaged) [person] → perturbé(e)
to be mentally disturbed → avoir des problèmes psychologiques
to be emotionally disturbed → avoir des problèmes affectifs
[sleep] → agité(e)


(= interrupted, turbulent) night, timesunruhig; pregnant women tend to have more disturbed sleep than other peopleSchwangere schlafen oft unruhiger als andere Menschen; separate beds can eliminate disturbed sleepgetrennte Betten können Schlafstörungen verhindern
(Psych: = unbalanced, unhappy) person, behaviour, childhood, backgroundgestört; emotionally/mentally disturbedseelisch/geistig gestört
(= worried) personbeunruhigt, besorgt (→ about, at, by über +acc); he was disturbed that …es beunruhigte or besorgte ihn, dass …; I was disturbed to hear of his accidentich war beunruhigt, als ich von seinem Unfall erfuhr


[dɪsˈtɜːbd] adjturbato/a
to be emotionally disturbed (Psych) → avere problemi emotivi
to be mentally disturbed (Psych) → essere malato/a di mente
References in classic literature ?
Elizabeth, or Beth, as everyone called her, was a rosy, smooth- haired, bright-eyed girl of thirteen, with a shy manner, a timid voice, and a ;peaceful expression which was seldom disturbed.
Screaming with dismay, the children ran here and there like disturbed insects.
Ned, too, finally succumbed to the overpowering weariness of the first day of travel, and he, too, slept, though it was an uneasy slumber, disturbed by a feeling as though some one were holding a heavy black quilt over his head, preventing him from breathing.
Shimerda; I gathered that the neighbours were all disturbed and shocked about something.
The unwonted cry had brought the sisters, together with the wounded David, from their place of refuge; and the whole party, at a single glance, was made acquainted with the nature of the disaster that had disturbed even the practiced stoicism of their youthful Indian protector.
I returned again to my old camp, which was not disturbed in my absence.
Certainly--of course I did," he returned, with the sudden testiness of disturbed abstraction.
Whether its sources were disturbed by the depth of the new cellar, or whatever subtler cause might lurk at the bottom, it is certain that the water of Maule's Well, as it continued to be called, grew hard and brackish.
Great were the weariness and annoyance of the old Inspector and the Weighers and Gaugers, whose slumbers were disturbed by the unmercifully lengthened tramp of my passing and returning footsteps.
That she now saw-- as she had not, I had satisfied myself, the previous time--was proved to me by the fact that she was disturbed neither by my reillumination nor by the haste I made to get into slippers and into a wrap.
Thomas said he would stay with him, so they went and sat down on a bench that had been brought into Merrylegs' stall, and put down the lantern at their feet, that I might not be disturbed with the light.
Being sent to jail had apparently not disturbed his cheerfulness; he had "done time" twice before, it seemed, and he took it all with a frolic welcome.