rick·​ety ˈri-kə-tē How to pronounce rickety (audio)
: affected with rickets
: lacking stability or firmness : shaky sense 2a
a rickety coalition
: in unsound physical condition
rickety veterans
rickety stairs

Examples of rickety in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Griff's was a cozy space inside with a small, rickety wooden patio in the front and a larger one in the back. Brianna Griff, Chron, 13 Jan. 2023 Instead of rickety outdoor patios with plastic partitions, diners mostly ate in dining rooms. Nick Kindelsperger, Chicago Tribune, 28 Dec. 2022 At least 185 men, women and children disembarked from a rickety wooden boat Monday at dusk on Ujong Pie beach at Muara Tiga, a coastal village in Aceh’s Pidie district, said local police chief Fauzi, who goes by a single name. Rahmat Mirza, BostonGlobe.com, 27 Dec. 2022 One very much hopes that those acres make it through today unscathed, but that seems unlikely, and the state hasn’t yet managed to fix its rickety property-insurance system, which will make recovery harder for many. Bill McKibben, The New Yorker, 28 Sep. 2022 There was a sense of terminal decline or terminal corrosion about government post-COVID, with the government being really rickety, and then this new leader that didn’t have a huge amount of relative endorsement from the Party. . . . Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, 21 Sep. 2022 Some are too rickety to reliably relocate delicate bottles and glassware without fear of a smashup, others are bereft of functional features, and still others simply don’t look attractive enough to grace your living space. Rachel Klein, Popular Mechanics, 16 Sep. 2022 The underpinnings of the economy, however, still look rickety. Nathaniel Taplin, WSJ, 15 July 2022 Those who are old enough remember being afraid to ride the rickety wooden roller coaster. Timothy Fanning, San Antonio Express-News, 7 Sep. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'rickety.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1673, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of rickety was in 1673

Dictionary Entries Near rickety

Cite this Entry

“Rickety.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rickety. Accessed 6 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


rick·​ety ˈrik-ət-ē How to pronounce rickety (audio)
: in weak physical condition
a rickety old man
: unsound sense 3, shaky
a rickety wagon

Medical Definition


rick·​ety ˈrik-ət-ē How to pronounce rickety (audio)
: affected with rickets : rachitic
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