in·​sta·​bil·​i·​ty | \ ˌin(t)-stə-ˈbi-lə-tē How to pronounce instability (audio) \

Definition of instability

: the quality or state of being unstable especially : lack of emotional or mental stability

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Examples of instability in a Sentence

Investors are worried about the current instability of the stock market. The patient has a history of emotional instability.

Recent Examples on the Web

Ms George has argued that further rate cuts when markets are jittery might fuel financial instability. The Economist, "Now Donald Trump calls the Fed’s chairman an “enemy”," 23 Aug. 2019 However, there has recently been a rising number of unacceptable violent incidents, with risks of further violence and instability. Alexandra Ossola, Quartz, "With Trump silent, Canada and the EU urge de-escalation in Hong Kong," 18 Aug. 2019 The minimum wage is partly to blame for the persistence of financial instability. Bryce Covert, The New Republic, "We’re Having the Wrong Debate About a $15 Minimum Wage," 18 July 2019 Hartford’s financial and economic instability over the years have birthed arguably the most dysfunctional commercial property-tax structure this state has seen in the last half-century. Greg Bordonaro,, "Hartford’s stifling property taxes make it difficult for businesses to prosper — and remain in the city," 7 July 2019 This last flaw leads to Messrs. Kashyap and Siegert’s first main point: The FSOC has no effective tools to stave off financial instability. Alan S. Blinder, WSJ, "Empower Regulators to Stop Risky Financial Business," 19 June 2019 In 1994, the Mexican government devalued the peso, setting off a period of financial instability that came to be known as the Tequila Crisis. Matt Phillips, The Seattle Times, "Why Turkey’s financial crisis matters beyond its borders," 14 Aug. 2018 Two previous iterations of women's pro soccer in the U.S. -- the WUSA and WPS -- folded after three seasons due to financial instability. Jamie Goldberg,, "Boston Breakers officially cease operations, NWSL to hold dispersal draft," 28 Jan. 2018 It is considered safe for travel isolated from political instability, but Haiti still is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Scott Springer,, "Winton Woods linebacker Bam Booker turning heads, changing lives," 20 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'instability.' 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 instability

15th century, in the meaning defined above

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Dictionary Entries near instability


in sport




in stages


Statistics for instability

Last Updated

8 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for instability

The first known use of instability was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for instability



English Language Learners Definition of instability

: the state of being likely to change
: the tendency to change your behavior very quickly or to react to things in an extremely emotional way


in·​sta·​bil·​i·​ty | \ ˌin-stə-ˈbi-lə-tē How to pronounce instability (audio) \

Kids Definition of instability

: the quality or state of being unstable


in·​sta·​bil·​i·​ty | \ ˌin(t)-stə-ˈbil-ət-ē How to pronounce instability (audio) \
plural instabilities

Medical Definition of instability

: the quality or state of being unstable especially : lack of emotional or mental stability

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Comments on instability

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


authorized for issue (as a bond)

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