de·​sta·​bi·​lize | \ (ˌ)dē-ˈstā-bə-ˌlīz How to pronounce destabilize (audio) \
destabilized; destabilizing; destabilizes

Definition of destabilize

transitive verb

1 : to make unstable
2 : to cause (something, such as a government) to be incapable of functioning or surviving

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Other Words from destabilize

destabilization \ (ˌ)dē-​ˌstā-​bə-​lə-​ˈzā-​shən How to pronounce destabilize (audio) \ noun

Examples of destabilize in a Sentence

The group hoped the assassination of the new President would destabilize the government. Economists warn that the crisis could destabilize the nation's currency.
Recent Examples on the Web Should Washington envision Ukraine as a lever to democratize Russia, Putin will destabilize Ukraine further. Michael Kimmage, The New Republic, "How Biden Can Achieve a Russian Restoration," 26 Jan. 2021 Fennell plays with genre conventions and tropes to destabilize the audience, dismantling cultural archetypes before our very eyes, so that by the very end, the whole thing comes crashing down. Anne Cohen,, "6 Movies That Take You Deeper Into The Vicious World Of Promising Young Woman," 18 Jan. 2021 This weakness, Byrne believed, had the potential to destabilize the stock market, likely with disastrous consequences. Sheelah Kolhatkar, The New Yorker, "A Tycoon’s Deep-State Conspiracy Dive," 7 Dec. 2020 Meanwhile, other Republicans, including U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer, R-Grand Rapids, decried efforts for political gain that could destabilize the nation. Todd Spangler, Detroit Free Press, "In wake of Trump and storming of the US Capitol, Republicans face uncertain future," 10 Jan. 2021 But other experts fear the move could further destabilize the region and rock the shaky peace deal with the Taliban. NBC News, "Trump's bold foreign policy moves raise fear of 'destructive' final days in office," 6 Dec. 2020 This will only serve to destabilize the system and harm the very people it is supposed to serve. David C. Mulligan, STAT, "CMS’s new rules on organ donation and transplantation ‘will bring chaos’," 23 Nov. 2020 And with two months to go until Trump leaves office, Beijing may want to avoid anything that could further destabilize US-China relations. Ben Westcott, Steven Jiang And James Griffiths, CNN, "Chinese government sidesteps question on when it will congratulate US President-elect Biden," 9 Nov. 2020 Iranian officials allege that ASMLA’s leaders have received funding from Tehran’s Persian Gulf rivals, including Saudi Arabia, to destabilize Iran. Washington Post, "Turkey blames Iranian intelligence for elaborate plot to kidnap opponent in Istanbul," 13 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'destabilize.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of destabilize

1924, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for destabilize

Time Traveler

The first known use of destabilize was in 1924

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Statistics for destabilize

Last Updated

19 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Destabilize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for destabilize



English Language Learners Definition of destabilize

: to cause (something, such as a government) to be unable to continue existing or working in the usual or desired way : to make (something) unstable

More from Merriam-Webster on destabilize

Nglish: Translation of destabilize for Spanish Speakers

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