rick·​ety | \ ˈri-kə-tē How to pronounce rickety (audio) \

Definition of rickety

1 : affected with rickets
2a : lacking stability or firmness : shaky sense 2a a rickety coalition
b : in unsound physical condition rickety veterans rickety stairs

Examples of rickety in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The economy is rickety, with high levels of poverty and unemployment, and the rule of the law and democratic institutions are weak, according to international monitors. Washington Post, "20 years since NATO-wrought freedom, Kosovo remains in limbo," 12 June 2019 Last year, the township asked her to either demolish or repair the park’s towering mountain, which once hosted a waterfall but which is now a rickety mound of rotting wood and moldy foam. John Carlisle, Freep.com, "LAND OF THE LOST Irish Hills tourist stop owner aims to restore dinosaur park," 6 June 2019 Leather-skinned men in cowboy hats steer rickety horse carts while children in bonnets bounce in the back. Nina Strochlic, National Geographic, "An unlikely feud between beekeepers and Mennonites simmers in Mexico," 12 Apr. 2019 Outside in the blinding sun, Christoph Buchel’s installation of the rickety pirate ship manned by Libyan traffickers—which crashed and sank in 2015 off the Italian island of Lampedusa—was absolutely chilling. Hamish Bowles, Vogue, "Hamish Bowles's Whirlwind Tour of the 2019 Venice Biennale," 20 May 2019 Largely uncelebrated in its native land, Cinco de Mayo is mostly a rickety pretext for tequila-fueled parties north of the border. Jeremy Bagott, WSJ, "America Is at the End of the Lime," 2 May 2019 This peaceable backyard space originally was occupied by a typical, rickety, 1920s-era single-car garage. Sandy Deneau Dunham, The Seattle Times, "This is not your grandmother’s backyard cottage," 13 Apr. 2019 Port, after a brief stay in an unidentified city in the Maghreb (as Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Tunisia, and Mauritania are collectively called), likewise heads south, but in his case by rickety local bus, interminably. Klara Glowczewska, Town & Country, "T&C Travel: Best of Morocco," 30 Mar. 2015 The easel was a gift from her corporate-lawyer father and soon made her a source of merriment among her savvier classmates at Yale’s School of Art, who knew that even figurative painters no longer used the rickety contraptions. Dodie Kazanjian, Vogue, "In Her First Solo Museum Snow, Jordan Casteel’s Humanizing Portraits Get Even Closer," 15 Jan. 2019

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

1673, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Dictionary Entries near rickety



rickettsia body





Statistics for rickety

Last Updated

20 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for rickety

The first known use of rickety was in 1673

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English Language Learners Definition of rickety

: not strong or stable and likely to break


rick·​ety | \ ˈri-kə-tē How to pronounce rickety (audio) \

Kids Definition of rickety

: in poor condition and likely to break Just below them, hugging the shore, rose a village of thatched huts, with a small, rickety pier, boats on the sand, and nets spread for mending.— Lloyd Alexander, Time Cat


rick·​ety | \ ˈrik-ət-ē How to pronounce rickety (audio) \

Medical Definition of rickety

: affected with rickets : rachitic

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Spanish Central: Translation of rickety

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Britannica English: Translation of rickety for Arabic Speakers

Comments on rickety

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


food or victuals

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