stagger

verb
stag·​ger | \ ˈsta-gər How to pronounce stagger (audio) \
staggered; staggering\ ˈsta-​g(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce staggering (audio) \

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 How to pronounce staggerer (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for stagger

Synonyms: Verb

careen, dodder, lurch, reel, teeter, totter, waddle

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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

James Olley of Standard Sport has gone into depth on the details of Arsenal's offer - stressing that the bid was even more ridiculous than the overall sum suggests - as the payments of the £40m were to be staggered over a period of five years. SI.com, "Crystal Palace Incensed by Arsenal Offer for Wilfried Zaha as Proposed Payment Structure Is Revealed," 2 July 2019 Makar and Timmins are 2017 draft classmates, selected Nos. 4 and 32 overall, respectively, and the Avs wanted to stagger their NHL introductions. Mike Chambers, The Denver Post, "Conor Timmins is back in the fold for the Avalanche," 26 June 2019 The judge allowed the couple to stagger prison terms so their children would not have both parents incarcerated at the same time. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Margaret Hunter’s guilty plea could complicate Rep. Duncan Hunter’s defense, experts say," 16 June 2019 About 30 minutes later, police saw Mitchell staggering along the city's Lake Michigan beach, wet and shirtless. Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "In Wisconsin case, U.S. Supreme court says police can draw blood from unconscious drivers without warrant," 27 June 2019 What’s really staggering is how much Pennsylvania spends on education for poor results. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "This Wolf Vetoes as a Wolf," 19 June 2019 According to the sentinel hypothesis, staggered sleep evolved to ensure that there was always some portion of a group awake and able to detect threats. Bridget Alex, Discover Magazine, "How Our Sleeping Habits Helped to Make Us Human," 1 Jan. 2019 California’s wildfires get bigger and more deadly year after year, thanks to rising temperatures fueled by climate change — and each major blaze exacerbates the state’s staggering inequality. Gaby Del Valle, Vox, "The fires in California highlight — and worsen — the state’s income divide," 15 Nov. 2018 The pioneering comedian earned staggering wealth by creating breakthrough TV programing. Phillip Morris, cleveland.com, "A tale of two comedians who once made Cleveland laugh: Phillip Morris," 2 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

That could strengthen the new SPD leader and let the coalition stagger on. The Economist, "Andrea Nahles’s resignation leaves Germany’s government teetering," 8 June 2019 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

18 Jul 2019

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 How to pronounce stagger (audio) \
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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More from Merriam-Webster on stagger

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with stagger

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for stagger

Spanish Central: Translation of stagger

Nglish: Translation of stagger for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of stagger for Arabic Speakers

Comments on stagger

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