1

stagger

verb stag·ger \ ˈsta-gər \
Updated on: 14 Nov 2017

Definition of stagger

staggered; staggering play \-g(ə-)riŋ\
intransitive verb
1 a : 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

staggerer

play \-gər-ər\ noun

Examples of stagger in a Sentence

  1. She staggered over to the sofa.

  2. A hard slap on the back staggered him.

  3. It staggers me to see how much money they've spent on this project.

  4. They staggered the runners' starting positions.

Recent Examples of stagger from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of stagger

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

stagger Synonyms


2

stagger

noun

Definition of stagger

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

Examples of stagger in a Sentence

  1. He walked with a slight stagger.

Recent Examples of stagger from the Web

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.

First Known Use of stagger

1577

Other Aeronautics/Aerospace Terms


3

stagger

adjective

Definition of stagger

: marked by an alternating or overlapping pattern

First Known Use of stagger

1918


STAGGER Defined for English Language Learners

stagger

verb

Definition of stagger for English Language Learners

  • : 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

Definition of stagger for English Language Learners

  • : an unsteady movement while walking or standing


STAGGER Defined for Kids

1

stagger

verb stag·ger \ ˈsta-gər \

Definition of stagger for Students

staggered; staggering
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

2

stagger

noun

Definition of stagger for Students

: a reeling or unsteady walk


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up stagger? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

food, provisions, or a tasty dish

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Find the Cousins

  • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
  • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!