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

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 Earlier this year, dozens of leading opposition figures were tried, convicted and sentenced for allegedly trying to destabilize Ortega's government. Christopher Sherman, ajc, 21 Apr. 2022 For a leader who wants to destabilize the anti-Moscow government in Kyiv, those measures count as achievements. Los Angeles Times, 20 Feb. 2022 The Russian military hacking group was also behind the NotPetya ransomware attack in 2017, an attempt to destabilize Ukrainian digital infrastructure, which spread to 60 other countries and caused $10 billion in damages. Amiah Taylor, Fortune, 14 Jan. 2022 There are fears that the pro-Russian Serbian leadership could try to use the international attention focused on Ukraine to further destabilize its neighbors, particularly Bosnia where minority Serbs have been threatening to join Serbia. Dusan Stojanovic, ajc, 5 Mar. 2022 Those policy shifts, coupled with private property developers’ withdrawal from the market and the continuing burden of China’s strict pandemic controls, now threaten to further destabilize the balance sheets of local governments. Jonathan Cheng, WSJ, 8 Feb. 2022 These operations are likely to further destabilize Ukraine’s political environment – namely, its government, its institutions and the people and organizations that depend on them. Maggie Smith, The Conversation, 7 Feb. 2022 The Foreign Ministry summoned hundreds of foreign diplomats to a meeting Wednesday and accused the U.S. government of instigating the protest as part of a plan to destabilize the country. Andrea RodrÍguez,, 12 Nov. 2021 In the wake of Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, fear of the Kremlin using its Russian minorities to destabilize the West brought attention to Ida-Virumaa. Isabelle De Pommereau, The Christian Science Monitor, 22 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of destabilize

1924, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of destabilize was in 1924

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Last Updated

14 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Destabilize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on destabilize

Nglish: Translation of destabilize for Spanish Speakers


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