un·​steady | \ ˌən-ˈste-dē How to pronounce unsteady (audio) \
unsteadied; unsteadying; unsteadies

Definition of unsteady

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

: to make unsteady



Definition of unsteady (Entry 2 of 2)

: not steady: such as
a : not firm or solid : not fixed in position : unstable
b : marked by change or fluctuation : changeable
c : not uniform or even : irregular an unsteady pulse

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from unsteady


unsteadily \ ˌən-​ˈste-​də-​lē How to pronounce unsteadily (audio) \ adverb
unsteadiness \ ˌən-​ˈste-​dē-​nəs How to pronounce unsteadiness (audio) \ noun

Examples of unsteady in a Sentence


He was a little unsteady on his feet. The horse walked with an unsteady gait. He signed his name with an unsteady hand. The progress of the work has been unsteady. a period of unsteady growth
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The rocks shifted and wobbled beneath my feet as the robust current pushed against my legs, unsteadying me. Cheryl Strayed, Vogue, "Is Glamping Camping? Wild’s Cheryl Strayed Tackles the Question—in Style," 17 July 2018 The administration's haphazard appointment process is unlike any in recent memory and has left the federal government unsteadied at the highest levels. Robert O'harrow Jr., Anchorage Daily News, "Promoted six times and then fired: A 24-year-old political appointee's wild ride in Trump's Washington," 15 June 2018 Still, yesterday’s reports contributed to the latest in a mounting series of scandals that have unsteadied the Trump administration for months. Isobel Thompson, The Hive, "Trump Confirms He Is Being Investigated for Obstruction," 15 June 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Despite the unsteady, muddy ground, the Duchess of Sussex chose a chic pair of Stuart Weitzman heeled boots for their trip to the horses. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Meghan Markle Braved the Mud in High Heeled Boots to Pet Horses in Morocco," 25 Feb. 2019 The Grammys rarely if ever showcase actual gospel music — and this would have been a great year to do so! — but choirs abound, providing sturdy ballast for unsteady performers. Jon Pareles, Jon Caramanica, Joe Coscarelli And Caryn Ganz, New York Times, "The Best and Worst of the Grammys," 29 Jan. 2018 This is already, at best, a very unsteady plot device (issues around race and policing are still about humans, for one thing). Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "The Happytime Murders turns raunchy puppet comedy into inexplicably boring dreck," 23 Aug. 2018 For instance, this may cause a postural imbalance which can lead to unsteady walking resulting in falls and other underfoot accidents. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Turns Out Kanye West’s Too-Small Yeezy Pool Slides Are Dangerous," 28 Aug. 2018 That is particularly true for older patients, who can become confused and unsteady or fall, said Thomas Scammell, a professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and a sleep medicine specialist at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital. Lenny Bernstein, chicagotribune.com, "Ambien should not be handed out 'like candy,' experts say of Jackson's alleged practices," 25 Apr. 2018 The retired warehouse worker has had unsteady years of late. Joe Mozingo, latimes.com, "One of L.A.'s oldest community gardens thrived for decades. Then the water wars began.," 4 June 2018 Computer programs have reached a bewildering point in their long and unsteady journey toward artificial intelligence. Judea Pearl And, WSJ, "AI Can’t Reason Why," 18 May 2018 The most provocative, if unsteady, episode involves Cory, the policeman with the MAGA hat. James Poniewozik, New York Times, "Review: ‘Queer Eye’ Aims to Make America Gay(-Friendly) Again," 7 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'unsteady.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of unsteady


1532, in the meaning defined above


1551, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about unsteady

Dictionary Entries near unsteady








Statistics for unsteady

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for unsteady

The first known use of unsteady was in 1532

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for unsteady



English Language Learners Definition of unsteady

: not standing or moving in a steady and balanced way
: shaking or moving because of nervousness, weakness, etc.
: not happening or proceeding in a smooth and constant way


un·​steady | \ ˌən-ˈste-dē How to pronounce unsteady (audio) \
unsteadier; unsteadiest

Kids Definition of unsteady

: not steady : unstable Her legs are so unsteady she needs help walking.

Other Words from unsteady

unsteadily \ -​ˈste-​də-​lē \ adverb

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on unsteady

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with unsteady

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for unsteady

Spanish Central: Translation of unsteady

Nglish: Translation of unsteady for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of unsteady for Arabic Speakers

Comments on unsteady

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


one that collects or salvages junk

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!