stagger

verb
stag·​ger | \ˈsta-gər \
staggered; staggering\ ˈsta-​g(ə-​)riŋ \

Definition of stagger 

(Entry 1 of 3)

intransitive verb

1a : to reel from side to side : totter

b : to move on unsteadily staggered toward the door

2 : to waver in purpose or action : hesitate

3 : to rock violently the ship staggered

transitive verb

1 : to cause to doubt or hesitate : perplex

2 : to cause to reel or totter

3 : to arrange in any of various zigzags, alternations, or overlappings of position or time stagger work shifts stagger teeth on a cutter

stagger

noun

Definition of stagger (Entry 2 of 3)

1 staggers plural in form but singular or plural in construction : an abnormal condition of domestic animals associated with damage to the central nervous system and marked by incoordination and a reeling unsteady gait

2 : a reeling or unsteady gait or stance

3 : an arrangement in which the leading edge of the upper wing of a biplane is advanced over that of the lower

stagger

adjective

Definition of stagger (Entry 3 of 3)

: marked by an alternating or overlapping pattern

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Other Words from stagger

Verb

staggerer \ ˈsta-​gər-​ər \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for stagger

Synonyms: Verb

balance, dither, falter, halt, hang back, hesitate, scruple, shilly-shally, teeter, vacillate, waver, wobble (also wabble)

Antonyms: Verb

dive (in), plunge (in)

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Examples of stagger in a Sentence

Verb

She staggered over to the sofa. A hard slap on the back staggered him. It staggers me to see how much money they've spent on this project. They staggered the runners' starting positions.

Noun

He walked with a slight stagger.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The sheer concentration of all things NBA in Sin City is staggering. Greg Moore, azcentral, "Moore: Will Vegas get an NBA team? Question more 'when' than 'whether'," 11 July 2018 And their expansion, and the statistical record of aerial activities within those few four years of fighting, is simply staggering. Paul Kennedy, WSJ, "The RAF at 100: Masters of the Skies," 29 June 2018 The sheer rate of Trump's untruth-telling is staggering. Chris Cillizza, CNN, "Donald Trump says untrue things as often as you go the bathroom every day," 1 May 2018 The size of the masses was staggering, seemingly miles wide and hundreds of feet high. Longreads, "The Quest for the Collision Zone: An Arctic Expedition," 12 Mar. 2018 While no death count has been directly linked to the policy, providers do have estimates of how many life-saving procedures could have been offered by the funding they are now denied, and the numbers are in some cases staggering. Casey Quackenbush, Time, "The Impact of President Trump's 'Global Gag Rule' on Women's Health is Becoming Clear," 2 Feb. 2018 They are expected to cost an additional $404,000, if school start times are not staggered, according to a school board presentation. Sarah Freishtat, Aurora Beacon-News, "East Aurora busing likely boosted middle school attendance, district says," 6 July 2018 One of the myriad delights of this memoir is its revealing vista onto the ethos of San Francisco in the ’70s and Los Angeles in the ’80s, deleted worlds in which outrageous characters stagger and strive. William Giraldi, The Seattle Times, "Glen David Gold’s new memoir is ‘a soiree of heart-wreck wised up by humor’," 9 July 2018 The difference in depth between these two teams is staggering. Aaron Reiss, kansascity, "The Porter brothers will determine Mizzou's NCAA Tournament outcome vs. FSU | The Kansas City Star," 15 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

His mother said the family is aware of the smattering of crass fans who use social media to badger college kids when expectations not of their own making stagger. Bryce Miller, sandiegouniontribune.com, "It's Trey's time as Kell-led Aztecs fight into NCAA field," 13 Mar. 2018 Critics say his abandoning of the TPP was a colossal error; the countries that the Obama administration rallied behind the most ambitious trade deal in history stagger along without U.S. leadership. Andrew Browne, WSJ, "Trump’s New National-Security Policy: Paper Tiger or Hidden Dragon?," 19 Dec. 2017 As the Orioles stagger to the end of the season, there's speculation that manager Buck Showalter might shut down Bundy, who's now at a career-high 1692/3 innings. David Ginsburg, courant.com, "Benintendi's 2-Run Single In 11th Lifts Red Sox Past Orioles," 19 Sep. 2017 A concerned Shaw watched Meyer, dazed and bleeding from scrapes, stagger to his feet. Gary D'amato, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "D'Amato: Carl Meyer keeps swinging, and swinging, for veterans," 4 July 2017 The clumsy stagger-step between every action is a pain, but it’s basically all there is to Valkyria Revolution’s combat. Steven Strom, Ars Technica, "Valkyria Revolution trades in cult-classic status for wasted promise," 27 June 2017 And now the Celtics stagger forward without their leading scorer and best playmaker into Quicken Loans Arena to take on the Cavs, who throttled them twice in Boston and have won 13 straight postseason games. Tom Withers, courant.com, "Bradley Hits Last-second Shot, Celtics Stun Cavs, 111-108," 21 May 2017 The Celtics didn't always use a stagger screen to elicit the switch. Adi Joseph, USA TODAY, "Wizards keep allowing Isaiah to torch Morris," 4 May 2017

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

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

Noun

1577, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1918, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for stagger

Verb

alteration of earlier stacker, from Middle English stakeren, from Old Norse stakra, frequentative of staka to push; perhaps akin to Old English staca stake — more at stake

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Statistics for stagger

Last Updated

24 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for stagger

The first known use of stagger was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for stagger

stagger

verb

English Language Learners Definition of stagger

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to move or cause (someone) to move unsteadily from side to side

: to shock or surprise (someone) very much

: to arrange (things) in a series of different positions or times

stagger

noun

English Language Learners Definition of stagger (Entry 2 of 2)

: an unsteady movement while walking or standing

stagger

verb
stag·​ger | \ˈsta-gər \
staggered; staggering

Kids Definition of stagger

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to move or cause to move unsteadily from side to side as if about to fall : reel He staggered under the load's weight.

2 : to cause or feel great surprise or shock The news staggered me.

3 : to arrange or be arranged in a zigzag but balanced way She stared at the dark brown and purple ridges staggered in the distance …— Pam Muñoz Ryan, Esperanza Rising

stagger

noun

Kids Definition of stagger (Entry 2 of 2)

: a reeling or unsteady walk

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Comments on stagger

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