kil·​ter | \ ˈkil-tər How to pronounce kilter (audio) \

Definition of kilter

: proper or usual state or condition : order out of kilter

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for kilter


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of kilter in a Sentence

since I dropped my food processor, it's been all out of kilter
Recent Examples on the Web His energy and random tics — sudden tears, an off-kilter laugh cutting through a serious scene — feel disconnected from any understanding of the character. Angelica Jade Bastién, Vulture, "Judas and the Black Messiah Is What Happens When Hollywood Co-opts Radical History," 11 Feb. 2021 As the icebergs melt, there would be an influx of cold fresh water into the ocean, potentially killing off phytoplankton and throwing the food chain off kilter. TheWeek, "Here's what may happen now that a giant iceberg has split into a dozen pieces," 7 Feb. 2021 And things aren’t so out of kilter other than our actual play, which, by the way, is almost trite to say almost. Dallas News, "Jerry Jones says Ben DiNucci’s first Cowboys start was ‘more than he could handle’," 4 Nov. 2020 This could include numbness or tingling to the tongue, maybe an off-kilter smile or less blinking in one eye than the other. Adrianna Rodriguez, USA TODAY, "COVID-19 vaccine trials report cases of brief facial paralysis. That's not as scary as it sounds.," 16 Dec. 2020 When the pandemic all but eliminated demand for his company’s off-kilter museum tours and guacamole-making contests, Alexis shifted his business model online. Washington Post, "Office holiday parties are transformed for public health and economic crises," 10 Dec. 2020 Drakeo’s off-kilter verses lurch out of pockets but are never off beat, despite the conditions. Sheldon Pearce, The New Yorker, "My Thirty Favorite Albums of 2020," 8 Dec. 2020 Apple’s vocal will shake your soul alongside off-kilter instrumentation that transports you into a different world. Troy L. Smith, cleveland, "Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s ‘WAP’ is the undisputed song of 2020," 6 Dec. 2020 Barres continues to keep the reader off-kilter, while avoiding cliches, including when a possible villain makes a late appearance. Oline H. Cogdill,, "Review: Two murders, two widows, many secrets in terrific ‘They’re Gone'," 18 Nov. 2020

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

See More

First Known Use of kilter

1628, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for kilter

origin unknown

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about kilter

Statistics for kilter

Last Updated

25 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Kilter.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for kilter


kil·​ter | \ ˈkil-tər How to pronounce kilter (audio) \

Kids Definition of kilter

: proper condition The TV is out of kilter.

More from Merriam-Webster on kilter

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for kilter

Nglish: Translation of kilter for Spanish Speakers

Comments on kilter

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


Test Your Vocabulary

February 2021 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of perdure?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!