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

Other Words from unsteady


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

Examples of unsteady in a Sentence

Adjective 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
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The changes offered purpose and vital human connections that seemed to serve as moorings in a life too routinely unsteadied by the gathering gloom. San Diego Union-Tribune, 16 Sep. 2019 The rocks shifted and wobbled beneath my feet as the robust current pushed against my legs, unsteadying me. Cheryl Strayed, Vogue, 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, 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, 15 June 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective After some unsteady moments, Stangle settled down and came up with 10 huge saves, several from point-blank range. Todd Karpovich, Baltimore Sun, 29 Apr. 2022 In his recommendation, Sherwood acknowledged the sport’s unsteady footing with the public and regulators’ efforts to remedy it. New York Times, 27 Apr. 2022 Disappointing results could further disrupt a stock market that’s already unsteady. Julia Horowitz, CNN, 20 Apr. 2022 The chair scored a 4/5 for both comfort and durability with the tester noticing that the armrests seemed a bit low and unsteady at their fully extended height. Jamie Weissman, Better Homes & Gardens, 15 Apr. 2022 Gas prices alone rose 48% in March, contributing to the unsteady feeling that consumers have about their wealth and the health of the U.S. economy. Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press, 13 Apr. 2022 Suneeta lives with her parents in a poor village with unsteady electricity. Peter Rainer, The Christian Science Monitor, 25 Mar. 2022 This year’s international feature film nominees vary greatly in tone and subject matter, taking viewers all the way from aboard unsteady cargo ships caught in sea storms to the grueling mountains of Bhutan. Hilton Dresden, The Hollywood Reporter, 10 Mar. 2022 Flexibility is key to surviving and thriving in an unsteady economy. Rolling Stone Culture Council, Rolling Stone, 9 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of unsteady


1532, in the meaning defined above


1551, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of unsteady was in 1532

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Cite this Entry

“Unsteady.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unsteady. Accessed 22 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for unsteady


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

More from Merriam-Webster on unsteady

Nglish: Translation of unsteady for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of unsteady for Arabic Speakers


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