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

For the second time in just over a week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel appeared unsteady and began visibly shaking at a public event in Berlin on Thursday, rekindling concerns about her health. Fox News, "Angela Merkel seen shaking at event in Berlin, second time in just over a week," 27 June 2019 The early years of a writing career are often full of an unsteady kind of optimism. Daniel A. Gross, The New Yorker, "The Strange Story of a Secret Literary Fellowship," 16 June 2019 Zhukovskyy was unsteady on his feet and his pupils were dilated, Dorris said. Matt Rocheleau, BostonGlobe.com, "Video shows recent drug charge arrest of truck driver charged in deadly N.H. crash," 27 June 2019 The man was unsteady on his feet, walking first to his left, then to his right. Bob Sandrick, cleveland.com, "Citizen blows whistle on drunk driver; old license plates haunt resident: Berea Police Blotter," 13 June 2019 Diamond seems unsteady in a world illuminated by iPhone screens. Daniel Immerwahr, The New Republic, "All Over the Map," 11 June 2019 This current version is broken, unsteady and vulnerable to both size and quickness around the basket. Bruce Jenkins, SFChronicle.com, "Size is bothering Warriors in NBA Finals against Raptors. That’s a first," 8 June 2019 In true sociopath form, Commander Lawrence seems to get off making the women in his life feel constantly unsteady. Elena Nicolaou, refinery29.com, "The Handmaid's Tale," 7 June 2019 The youngest child would have been around 3 years old at the time, and their tiny footprints record the small, unsteady steps of a toddler. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "14,000-year-old footprints record an underground Stone Age family outing," 29 May 2019

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).


something desired as essential

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Bee Cubed

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!