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 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 The families here at Khumib were living in temporary tents, rickety frameworks of sticks covered in patchwork rags, that would be packed away onto the back of a donkey in a morning. Stanley Stewart, Condé Nast Traveler, "Going Off-Grid in Namibia," 21 Dec. 2018 Not only are our election guardians merely outmatched, but the system they guard is also rickety. Benjamin Wofford, Vox, "The midterms are already hacked. You just don’t know it yet.," 25 Oct. 2018 Most of them crossed the Suchiate River, the wide river of brown waters dividing Mexico and Guatemala, on rickety rafts. Juan Montes, WSJ, "Caravan Heads North After Migrants Cross Into Mexico," 22 Oct. 2018 Each of those platforms had advantages and disadvantages, but those last four were built on old and increasingly rickety foundations. Dieter Bohn, The Verge, "How Android got big," 24 Oct. 2018 Almost all of Baltimore's public schools reopened Monday after a brutal cold snap, rickety heating systems and public outrage forced a city-wide shutdown last week. John Bacon, USA TODAY, "Beleaguered Baltimore reopens most schools minus icicles," 8 Jan. 2018 Modern treehouses, however, go way beyond a rickety retreat build with a few two-by-fours from the store. Megan Barber, Curbed, "You can buy this tiny treehouse shaped like a pinecone," 11 Dec. 2018 The lakefront cottages favored by Toronto’s wealthiest range from modest single-story homes with rickety boathouses to opulent post-and-beam mansions, all nestled into the pristine pine forests that dominate the area. Kris Frieswick, WSJ, "Canada’s City of the Future Rides a New Wave," 4 Dec. 2018

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

31 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for rickety

The first known use of rickety was in 1673

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More Definitions for rickety



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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More from Merriam-Webster on rickety

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rickety

Spanish Central: Translation of rickety

Nglish: Translation of rickety for Spanish Speakers

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).


grandiloquent, ostentatious, or bombastic

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