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

Because of it, the conservative channel’s ratings grew a staggering 400 percent. Neil Swidey, BostonGlobe.com, "How Democrats would be better off if Bill Clinton had never been president," 10 July 2018 The growth of the Chinese film market, the second largest in the world, is staggering. Michael Holtz, The Christian Science Monitor, "In China, US films struggle against homegrown movies," 19 June 2018 Last year, China surpassed India as Dubai's largest trade partner, while a staggering one-third of all international flights from India head to the UAE, according to Indian aviation authorities. Afshin Molavi, CNN, "Is Dubai a model for economic diversification in the Persian Gulf?," 4 June 2018 To date this computer program has proctored 1.7 million exams and flagged a staggering 5.5 million violations. Peter Rowe, sandiegouniontribune.com, "The truth about lying: we live in a golden age of lies — and lie-detecting," 28 May 2018 In two seasons at Houston, Oliver has put up staggering numbers. cleveland.com, "NFL mock draft 2019: 32 prospects to watch for next year," 29 Apr. 2018 Anemic economic growth and still-staggering youth unemployment were other major contributors to Sunday’s discontented message from voters. Jonah Shepp, Daily Intelligencer, "Italy’s Election Shows European Populism Isn’t Dead Yet," 7 Mar. 2018 The statistics around opioid overdose deaths are staggering. Jamie Ducharme, Time, "Researchers May Have Underestimated the Number of Opioid Overdose Deaths," 27 June 2018 The amount of ice going into the ocean is staggering, measured in gigatons, Loose said. Chris Ciaccia, Fox News, "Antarctica's big secret: Active volcanic heat found under Pine Island Glacier," 27 June 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

12 Sep 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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