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 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

From 2005 to 2016, the number of supercommuters in Seattle jumped 65.6 percent, in St. Louis the figure increased by 89 percent, San Francisco saw a 112.7 percent leap, and El Paso a staggering 234.7 percent difference. Diana Budds, Curbed, "The future of urban mobility will be shaped by these six issues," 18 Dec. 2018 And the star—measuring just over nine feet across, weighing a staggering 900 pounds and topped with three million Swarovski crystals—is unequivocally spectacular. Olivia Martin, Town & Country, "The Rockefeller Christmas Tree Debuts a New Star Designed by Daniel Libeskind," 14 Nov. 2018 Since their introduction in the 1920s, their numbers have blossomed into a staggering 700 ungulates. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Mountain Goats Are Being Airlifted Out of a National Park Because They Crave Human Pee," 28 Sep. 2018 Bookings for 2018 are up a staggering 214 percent over last year, tour operator Intrepid Travel says. Paul Brady, Condé Nast Traveler, "Trouble in Turkey Hasn't Stopped These Travelers From Going," 24 Sep. 2018 Viewership per video is also staggering: During the last three months, Tasty’s Facebook videos have averaged 22.8 million video views in the first 30 days alone. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Facebook hired a new public defender, and he should start with WhatsApp," 20 Oct. 2018 The palpable emotion that the series could elicit on a weekly basis was (and still is) staggering. Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, "See you on Netflix: An elegy for Shonda Rhimes’ ABC empire," 21 Mar. 2018 Couples who stagger their retirement dates also must carve out time to be together. Anne Tergesen, WSJ, "Why You Shouldn’t Retire When Your Spouse Does," 20 Nov. 2018 With discounts on Xbox One X bundles and the new 2018 MacBook Air with Retina Display at different storage options, the deals that are staggered throughout the week are looking pretty good. Shannon Liao, The Verge, "eBay’s Black Friday deals include the new 2018 MacBook Air, Samsung 4K TVs, and Red Dead Redemption 2," 19 Nov. 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

31 Jan 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 \
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

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