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 watching Leaving Neverland, which aired on HBO in May, hearing the stories from two of his accusers, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, left me, and many others, unsettled about who Jackson really was. Courtney E. Smith, refinery29.com, "10 Years After Michael Jackson’s Death, The King Of Pop’s Legacy Is In Shambles," 25 June 2019 Mary Louise manages to unsettle grieving daughter-in-law Celeste (Nicole Kidman) and needle the overbearing Madeline (Reese Witherspoon). Hal Boedeker, orlandosentinel.com, "Meryl Streep, Doris Day, ‘Ripley’s Believe It or Not!’: Weekend for legends," 7 June 2019 Still, families with soldiers in Europe were unsettled. Dawn Mitchell, Indianapolis Star, "D-Day remembered: How Indiana reacted to the Normandy invasion," 6 June 2019 Some shows provide closure to key plotlines or resolve characters’ dilemmas in satisfying ways, but others can wind up leaving viewers unsettled. Taylor Umlauf And Dylan Moriarty, WSJ, "‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8: A Song of Ice and Fire and Disappointment," 18 May 2019 Murray’s health status unsettled his opponent even more. Ben Rothenberg, New York Times, "After 342 Days, Andy Murray Returns to the Court (and Loses)," 19 June 2018 This has unsettled some Chinese, who worry their leader is reviving Mao-style dictatorship. Chun Han Wong, WSJ, "China’s Museums Rewrite History to Boost Xi," 20 Aug. 2018 Eileen Higgins’s surprise victory in a heavily Hispanic district has deeply unsettled Republicans in South Florida, where local elections have long been determined by ethnicity. Patricia Mazzei, New York Times, "‘The Blue Wave Came’: Win for Non-Hispanic Democrat Signals Big Shift in Miami," 30 June 2018 The turmoil has unsettled U.S. allies and rivals across the globe. chicagotribune.com, "Trump unbound: Recent moves show president listening to his gut more than advisers," 13 Mar. 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

5 Jul 2019

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 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

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 form ideas or theories about something

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