commotion


commotion
commotion, agitation, tumult, turmoil, turbulence, confusion, convulsion, upheaval are comparable when they designate great physical, mental, or emotional excitement. All carry this general meaning yet have applications which fit them for narrower use in specific senses.
Commotion always implies movement to and fro that may be violent and disturbing or that may be merely sharply in contrast to a usual calm. It is used physically of storms, especially as they affect the movement of the seas
{

beneath the endless surges of the deep ... a host of mariners perpetual sleep, too hushed to heed the wild commotion's roar— Channing d. 1901

}
and of unusual bustle or hubbub
{

the re was commotion all over the house at the return of the young heir— Meredith

}
Even when commotion represents mental or emotional excitement, it indirectly suggests movement in heightening the ideas of unrest and perturba-tion
{

eighteen years of commotion had made the majority of the people ready to buy repose at any price— Macaulay

}
Agitation, on the other hand, suggests a stirring up or a shaking up comparable physically to that accompanying a fermentation or to boiling or seething
{

the agitation of the earth's crust during an earthquake

}
Usually it describes strong emotional excitement that, whether controlled or not, causes distress or pain to the person involved
{

that sickening agitation of the heart which arises from hope deferred— Scott

}
{

"Pray," said Mr. Lorry . . . bringing his left hand ... to lay it on the supplicatory fingers that clasped him in so violent a tremble, "pray control your agitation"—Dickens

}
It also may refer to the stirring up of men's minds and emotions on some usually emotionally charged matter or question
{

political agitation by foreign agents

}
{

an anti-Catholic agitation that was marked by the destruction of churches— Amer. Guide Series: N. Y.

}
Tumult may mean, generally, either commotion or agitation that is characterized by uproar, din, or great disorder
{

the tumult and the shouting dies, the captains and the kings depart— Kipling

}
It also may apply specifically to a riot or fracas or to an insurrection or rebellious outbreak
{

the tumults and disorders of the Great Rebellion had hardly been subdued— T. S. Eliot

}
but it is equally applicable to other things (as a violent disturbance of the elements or an agitating conflict of passions) that suggest in combination noise, disorder, and intense excitement
{

it thunders and lightens . . . what tumult's in the heavens?— Shak.

}
{

the gods approve the depth, and not the tumult, of the soul— Wordsworth

}
Turmoil implies a state where nothing is at rest and where everything seethes with excitement. It is applicable to a state of physical commotion or to a condition of mental or emotional agitation, but in all cases it carries a suggestion of harassment and of ferment from which there seems no escape. In fact, it often connotes the point of view of a person who loves peace and hates disturbance
{

her life had been calm, regular, monotonous . . . now it was thrown into . . . indescribable turmoilBennett

}
{

the child's inner life is often a turmoil of terrors and anxieties of which his parents know almost nothing— Inge

}
{

the great peace beyond all this turmoil and fret compassed me around— L. P. Smith

}
Turbulence implies an excitement that cannot be easily put down or allayed; it may suggest impetuosity, insubordination, unruliness, lack of discipline, or comparable qualities in inanimate things
{

yon foaming flood seems motionless as ice; its dizzy turbulence eludes the eye, frozen by distance— Wordsworth

}
{

it required all the personal influence of the king to check the turbulence of his irritated followers— Pattison

}
{

the rest exhibited plenty of the turbulence of passion, but none of the gravity of thoughtful emotion— Quiller-Couch

}
Confusion (see also CONFUSION) applies chiefly to a mental state which may affect one person or many and which is marked by such a condition that the mind is at sea and unable to function; usually it suggests perturbation and inability to think coherently often as a result of embarrassment or discomfiture
{

the crown was thrown into confusion by the news

}
{

overcome with confusion, and unable to lift up her eyes— Austen

}
{

she was slowly emerging from the mental confusion which followed the fall— Ellis

}
{

to cover his confusion, he half turned awayAnderson

}
Convulsion and upheaval suggest large-scale violent activity, commotion, or agitation.
More particularly convulsion implies a sudden, surging, confused, or spasmodic action (as in the earth's crust, the individual's mind, or the body politic)
{

flourishing cities were demolished by the earth's convulsionMartin Gardner

}
{

a convulsion of wild laughter

}
{

the vast social convulsions of a continent in travail— Niebuhr

}
while upheaval implies a violent and forceful thrusting that results in a heaving up or overthrowing
{

an emotional upheaval as shattering as an earthquake— Goudge

}
{

there had also been social upheavals before the Reformation— -J. R. Lowell

}
Analogous words: hubbub, racket, *din, uproar, pandemonium: *motion, movement: *stir, bustle, flurry, ado
Contrasted words: calmness or calm, placidity, tranquillity (see corresponding adjectives at CALM): quietness or quiet, silentness or silence, stillness (see corresponding adjectives at STILL)

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • COMMOTION — COMMOTI Ébranlement traumatique d’un tissu ne laissant pas de lésion décelable. On admet que la commotion cérébrale explique la perte de connaissance initiale fréquente dans les traumatismes crâniens bénins. commotion [ komosjɔ̃ ] n. f. • 1155;… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Commotion — is a visual effects application, originally released by Puffin Designs. Puffin Designs was founded by Scott Squires (an award winning Visual Effects Supervisor at Industrial Light and Magic) and Forest Key to market Commotion. Commotion set a… …   Wikipedia

  • Commotion — Com*mo tion, n. [L. commotio: cf. F. commotion. See {Motion}.] 1. Disturbed or violent motion; agitation. [1913 Webster] [What] commotion in the winds ! Shak. [1913 Webster] 2. A popular tumult; public disturbance; riot. [1913 Webster] When ye… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • commotion — COMMOTION. s. fém. Terme de Médecine. Ébranlement violent audedans du corps, causé par une chute, ou par quelque coup. Il y a à craindre que ce coup, que cette chute n ait fait commotion au cerveau. Il tomba de fort haut, ce qui lui causa une… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française 1798

  • commotion — Commotion. s. f. Terme de Medecine. Esbranlement violent, ou dans la substance du cerveau, ou dans tout le corps; causé par quelque cheute, ou par quelque coup. Il y a à craindre que ce coup. que cette cheute n ait fait commotion au cerveau. il… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • commotion — late 14c., from M.Fr. commocion violent motion, agitation (12c., Mod.Fr. commotion), from L. commotionem (nom. commotio) violent motion, agitation, noun of action from pp. stem of commovere to move, disturb, from com together, or thoroughly (see… …   Etymology dictionary

  • commotion — Commotion, Commotio. Cic. Petite commotion, Commotiuncula. Cic …   Thresor de la langue françoyse

  • Commotion — Commotion.(v. lat.), 1) Erschütterung; 2) durch heftige Erschütterung, z.B. Schlag, Fall u. dgl. bewirkte Störung eines Organs, ohne eigentliche Trennung der Theile, bes. des Gehirns u. Rückenmarks. Daher Commoviren u. Commotioner (engl., spr.… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Commotion — Commotion, lat., Erschütterung, Stoß, auch die dadurch hervorgerufene Krankheit …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • commotion — I noun affray, agitatio, agitation, altercation, brawl, clamor, clash, conflict, confusion, convulsion, disorder, disorderliness, disorganization, disquiet, disquietude, disturbance, ebullition, embroilment, encounter, entanglement, eruption,… …   Law dictionary


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.