“Although the tumultuous tempest tossed the ship on the high seas, the hardy sailors struggled to keep the ship afloat.”  

What is the best definition of tumultuous?

Check your answer!

Choice A - Extremely windy and rainy
Choice B - Totally random and haphazard
Choice C - Lending to a sense of hopelessness
Choice D - Marked by turmoil, noise and confusion


Tumultuous (adjective) – marked by loud noise, turmoil, or disturbance; in a state of excitement, disorder, or confusion

Tumult (noun) – uproar; riot; state of confusion

GRE pro tips:

To remember the words tumult and tumultuous, you can associate them with their cousins, tempest and tempestuous. A tempest is a very windy, often rainy, storm that comes on violently (as in the Shakespeare play, The Tempest), whereas a tumult is an uproar or riot, marked by loudness and confusion. Both are noisy and chaotic.

As adjectives, tumultuous and tempestuous have similar meanings and usages and can have a wide range of associations. For instance, if a couple argues loudly and has a lot of turmoil, the two partners are in a tumultuous (or tempestuous) relationship. Likewise, if a crowd riots and shouts loudly, they are a tumultuous (or tempestuous) crowd. Or, if it seems like your emotions are in an uproar and you can’t get a hold of yourself, you have tumultuous (or tempestuous) emotions. And, if you find yourself at sea in a tempest, you are facing a dangerously tumultuous (or tempestuous) storm.

Example sentences:

“A tumult erupted between the protesters and the anti-protesters that caused the police to intervene.”

“After so many ups and downs, noisy fights, and misunderstandings, they both decided that their tumultuous relationship had gone on for long enough.”