un·​set·​tle | \ ˌən-ˈse-tᵊl \
unsettled; unsettling; unsettles

Definition of unsettle

transitive verb

1 : to loosen or move from a settled state or condition : make unstable : disorder
2 : to perturb or agitate mentally or emotionally : discompose

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Examples of unsettle in a Sentence

Such a sudden change will unsettle her. the news that the local grocery store had sold contaminated produce unsettled many shoppers

Recent Examples on the Web

The standoff has unsettled investors, who have sold off Italian debt in recent months, pushing up the country’s borrowing rates. Colleen Barry, The Seattle Times, "Italy’s doesn’t budge in clash with EU over budget deficit," 13 Nov. 2018 On the other hand, fellow native outlet AS claim the Eagles are very much in the running for the 31-year-old, with interest having unsettled their number one shot-stopper. SI.com, "Crystal Palace 'Preparing for Court' in Effort to Sign Spanish Goalkeeper From Getafe," 12 Jan. 2018 Their reaction to big data, harvested from and about them, can be unsettled or downright hostile. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "The Drones of Tomorrow Have a Data Problem," 11 May 2017 The attack in the heart of old Strasbourg, near its famous cathedral and within the Christmas market that draws many tourists, unsettled the border city that also is home to the European Parliament. Elaine Ganley, The Seattle Times, "Gunman from Christmas market attack in France still at large," 12 Dec. 2018 At the same time, there are increased worries about global growth, bond market yields are flashing a yellow signal about the outlook, and financial markets have been broadly unsettled. Michael S. Derby, WSJ, "Kaplan Says Fed Has ‘Luxury Of Patience’ on Further Rate Rises," 6 Dec. 2018 Hadid recalls her eerie attic bedroom growing up and her recurring, unsettling Halloween dream. Vogue, "Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid, and Paloma Elsesser Share Their Scariest, Spookiest Stories," 24 Oct. 2018 Democrats attempted to make the most of their brief opportunity to unsettle the nominee and cloud a process likely to lead to his narrow confirmation later this month. Byron Tau, WSJ, "Kavanaugh Pledges Fairness as Supreme Court Justice," 5 Sep. 2018 Whether Real Madrid publicly discussing a player who isn't theirs is a plan to potentially unsettle the player remains to be seen. SI.com, "Real Madrid Officially Deny Report From Spanish Television of €310m Bid for PSG Superstar Neymar," 2 July 2018

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

1598, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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Statistics for unsettle

Last Updated

1 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for unsettle

The first known use of unsettle was in 1598

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More Definitions for unsettle



English Language Learners Definition of unsettle

: to make (someone) nervous, worried, or upset


un·​set·​tle | \ ˌən-ˈse-tᵊl \
unsettled; unsettling

Kids Definition of unsettle

: to disturb the quiet or order of : upset Spicy food unsettles my stomach. Social changes can unsettle old beliefs.

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More from Merriam-Webster on unsettle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with unsettle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for unsettle

Spanish Central: Translation of unsettle

Nglish: Translation of unsettle for Spanish Speakers

Comments on unsettle

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


to express emotion in a dramatic way

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