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 But by then, the damage caused by the Dodgers’ reluctance to unsettle him had been done. Bill Plaschke, Los Angeles Times, "Column: Dodgers get cheated again, this time by sign-stealing Fernando Tatis Jr. of Padres," 26 Apr. 2021 The tension is this: Black nerds unsettle the myth of a monolithic Blackness. New York Times, "The Black Nerds Redefining the Culture," 24 Mar. 2021 Their pressure defense can unsettle any team as evidenced by the Longhorns committing 23 turnovers. Erick Smith, USA TODAY, "March Madness predictions: Which NCAA Tournament games on Monday are best bets?," 22 Mar. 2021 This feeling of being upside-down began to unsettle me on our first night. Jamie Quatro, Travel + Leisure, "Hiking the Grand Canyon From Rim-to-Rim Is a Bucket-List Adventure," 4 Mar. 2021 Meanwhile, critics like Pence criticize the attempt to federalize election rules, highlighting provisions in the bill that would unsettle longstanding practices and rules local election officials deem important to election security. Jemima Mcevoy, Forbes, "Pence Breaks Jan. 6 Silence With Vague 2020 Election Conspiracy," 3 Mar. 2021 The list of things that unsettle her, though, seems oddly counterintuitive. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Kaillie Humphries navigates controversy to become world’s best female bobsledder," 22 Feb. 2021 In fact, the gaslit opera houses of the mid-nineteenth century sometimes presented new works that were intended to unsettle the public psychologically by conjuring phantasms or ghosts with lighting, staging, and music. Larry Wolff, The New York Review of Books, "Phantasms of the Opera," 23 Feb. 2021 The default condition of humankind is not to thrive in broadly egalitarian and stable democratic arrangements that get unsettled only when something happens to unsettle them. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, "What We Get Wrong About America’s Crisis of Democracy," 27 Dec. 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

28 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Unsettle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unsettle. Accessed 9 May. 2021.

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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 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.

More from Merriam-Webster on unsettle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for unsettle

Nglish: Translation of unsettle for Spanish Speakers

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