un·​set·​tle | \ ˌən-ˈse-tᵊl How to pronounce unsettle (audio) \
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 There is something unsettling about watching a soccer match played behind closed doors, in a stadium filled with echoes and air, rather than noise and life. Rory Smith, New York Times, "Football Without Fans Is Nothing. Until It’s Everything.," 17 Apr. 2020 Wall Street did not appear unsettled by Johnson’s retirement announcement. J.d. Morris, SFChronicle.com, "PG&E CEO Bill Johnson to retire in June as bankruptcy approaches its end," 22 Apr. 2020 Biden’s words conjured Warren’s career as a Harvard law professor — a title that could unsettle voters without college degrees, a demographic with which Biden is currently strong, polls show. BostonGlobe.com, "You're using a browser set to private or incognito mode.," 11 Nov. 2019 Even if Spurs hang on to Eriksen, Alderweireld and Vertonghen, transfer speculation that unsettles the players this month could be damaging to Spurs’ season as a whole. SI.com, "Mauricio Pochettino Blasts Early Transfer Deadline & Claims it's a 'Massive Mistake'," 19 Aug. 2019 The laser show is intimately connected to this larger battle over the future of Beijing, but many demonstrators saw it as a reprieve from the tear gas and tensions that have unsettled the city-state in recent weeks. Jen Kirby, Vox, "Hong Kong protesters stage a laser show in latest challenge to Beijing," 8 Aug. 2019 The deterioration of the prime minister’s medical condition has unsettled British politics. The Economist, "Britain’s battle against the coronavirus Boris Johnson is admitted to intensive care with covid-19," 6 Apr. 2020 Many teams projected to contend for New Year's Six bowl games have unsettled competitions at quarterback, for example. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, "Coronavirus stopped spring football but it cannot stop an updated preseason Top 25," 25 Mar. 2020 This year, disruptions from the coronavirus epidemic has unsettled global financial markets, with policy makers preparing for the economic fallout from the spread of the virus. Julia Carpenter, WSJ, "What the Fed’s Interest-Rate Cut Means for You," 3 Mar. 2020

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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Time Traveler for unsettle

Time Traveler

The first known use of unsettle was in 1598

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Statistics for unsettle

Last Updated

23 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Unsettle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unsettle. Accessed 29 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for unsettle


How to pronounce unsettle (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of unsettle

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


un·​set·​tle | \ ˌən-ˈse-tᵊl How to pronounce unsettle (audio) \
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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for unsettle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with unsettle

Spanish Central: Translation of unsettle

Nglish: Translation of unsettle for Spanish Speakers

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