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

Trump’s disdain for the alliances and organizations the United States helped forge after World War II has unsettled the international order. Ceylan Yeginsu, BostonGlobe.com, "Big protests greet Trump in Britain," 13 July 2018 Meanwhile, the heightened U.S. scrutiny, tied originally to fears the Chinese government could use Huawei for cyber-subterfuge, has unsettled some allied countries where the company has big business. Aruna Viswanatha, WSJ, "Huawei Under Criminal Investigation Over Iran Sanctions," 25 Apr. 2018 Those steps could unsettle global markets and cause businesses to pull back on investment, which could lead to a slowdown in growth. David Harrison, WSJ, "Economists in New Survey See Federal Reserve on Autopilot," 12 July 2018 The chest control, spin and deft finish inside the right post showed that in their big target man, Russia have found a useful out-ball probably capable of unsettling the generally weak defences of this tournament. SI.com, "Surprise World Cup Stars: Artem Dzyuba – The Russian Peter Crouch With an Infectious Smile," 9 July 2018 Trump's laser-focus on Germany has unsettled Berlin, which had grown accustomed to a strong relationship with then-president Obama. Michael Birnbaum, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump says Germany 'is captive to Russia' in fiery opening salvo against NATO," 11 July 2018 Tunisia's defense was unsettled by two first-half injuries. Graham Dunbar, chicagotribune.com, "Hazard, Lukaku net braces as Belgium rout Tunisia," 23 June 2018 His eagerness for a deal has unsettled Japan and South Korea. Washington Post, "Trump rarely conducts business as usual with foreign leaders," 7 June 2018 In Turkey, investors have been unsettled by concerns that central-bank officials have had difficulty overseeing interest- rate policy due to pressure from the nation’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Daniel Kruger, WSJ, "U.S. Government Bonds Move Higher," 7 June 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

8 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

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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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).


playful or foolish behavior

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