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

Definition of kilter

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

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Examples of kilter in a Sentence

since I dropped my food processor, it's been all out of kilter
Recent Examples on the Web McColm and Day show promise as filmmakers, even if not everyone will be into their off-kilter look at the world. Los Angeles Times, "Review: Broken people flock together in oddball ‘Birds Without Feathers’," 18 Sep. 2019 The writing has the muscular urgency of the present tense, throwing us off-kilter in real time. Sarah Lyall, New York Times, "Far From the Shore, a Happy Couple Takes a Turn for the Worse," 11 June 2018 The shift hurt several cod year classes and their offspring by throwing their metabolism and diets off kilter. Anchorage Daily News, "Small cod fishery will occur after all in Gulf of Alaska’s state waters," 24 Dec. 2019 Any move that seemed off kilter was carefully analysed. The Economist, "For Olympic climbing’s route-setters, a blank wall is a canvas," 18 Dec. 2019 The election of President Trump represented a stunning, overdue registration by American voters of their recognition that things had gotten off-kilter. Elbridge Colby, National Review, "A Republican Foreign Policy," 5 Dec. 2019 Meanwhile, warming is already knocking the Arctic’s seasonal clock off-kilter. Cheryl Katz, National Geographic, "Warming at the poles will soon be felt globally in rising seas, extreme weather," 4 Dec. 2019 The Echo Loop sounds like an off-kilter, if nifty, idea—like a stealthy 007-type piece of spy equipment. Fortune, "Hands-on With Amazon’s New Gadgets: Echo Studio, Echo Buds, Echo Frames, and Echo Loop," 25 Sep. 2019 The same sort of thing has happened with Johnson’s off-kilter, unsolicited take critiquing how devout Muslim women dress. Rashmee Roshan Lall, Quartz, "You can bash Boris Johnson for many things. But only if he said them," 4 Sep. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of kilter

1628, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for kilter

origin unknown

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Time Traveler for kilter

Time Traveler

The first known use of kilter was in 1628

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Statistics for kilter

Last Updated

16 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Kilter.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 28 January 2020.

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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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on kilter

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for kilter

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with kilter

Spanish Central: Translation of 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).


showing steady, earnest care and effort

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