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 destabilization (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 And yet Scerri argues that such elements destabilize the periodic table in a different way. Neima Jahromi, The New Yorker, "The Histories Hidden in the Periodic Table," 27 Dec. 2019 Business leaders and Wall Street executives have started pushing back, saying efforts to restrict investment constitute government interference and could destabilize financial markets. New York Times, "Chinese Investment Pits Wall Street Against Washington," 28 Oct. 2019 Officials also fear high winds could destabilize the remnants of an 18-story Hard Rock Hotel that collapsed while under construction in New Orleans, killing three. CBS News, "Tropical storm expected to form in Gulf Coast, bringing "dangerous" storm surge," 17 Oct. 2019 The current situation in Libya is a source of deep concern to us, and we are convinced of the fact that the violence and the military attacks can destabilize all of North Africa., "The following is a transcript of remarks made by President Trump alongside President Sergio Mattarella of Italy on Wednesday at the White House:," 16 Oct. 2019 Magnesium carbonate keeps the environment within the canister from becoming too acidic, which could destabilize the potassium chlorate. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, "Watch This Hong Kong Protester Instantly Neutralize Tear Gas," 3 Sep. 2019 Some scientists worry that as ice loss continues to speed up in both Greenland and Antarctica, parts of the ice sheets could eventually destabilize and collapse entirely — leading to catastrophic sea-level rise. Chelsea Harvey, Scientific American, "These Are the Biggest Climate Questions for the New Decade," 4 Jan. 2020 Political intrigue within the sultanate, strengthening of European powers, economic competition because of new trade routes, and the beginning of the Industrial Revolution all destabilized the once peerless empire. Erin Blakemore, National Geographic, "Why the Ottoman Empire rose and fell," 6 Dec. 2019 Free radicals, when left unchecked, can destabilize other molecules around them and cause cellular damage. Cosby Stone, The Conversation, "Vitamin E and vaping injuries: What’s safe in your diet is rarely safe in your lungs," 22 Nov. 2019

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

24 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Destabilize.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 26 January 2020.

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More Definitions for destabilize


How to pronounce destabilize (audio)

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with destabilize

Nglish: Translation of destabilize for Spanish Speakers

Comments on destabilize

What made you want to look up destabilize? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to express in a more acceptable way

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