1 of 2


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

transitive verb

: to make unsteady


2 of 2


: not steady: such as
: not firm or solid : not fixed in position : unstable
: marked by change or fluctuation : changeable
: not uniform or even : irregular
an unsteady pulse
unsteadily adverb
unsteadiness 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
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
Cons During our cooking tests, the handle became a little unsteady as a screw had become loose. L.a. Hubilla, Peoplemag, 10 Sep. 2023 Tapered hulls may make carriers look unsteady, but there’s more than meets the eye here. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 14 Aug. 2023 Keith made it through the procedure, but his recovery was slow and unsteady. Jaeah Lee, New York Times, 28 Mar. 2023 But unsteady early performances from fellow rookies and further injuries to veterans dictated that Curry has stuck with the big league club all season. Joe Noga, cleveland, 23 Aug. 2023 Some individuals may experience a slight feeling of being off-balance or unsteady on their feet after consuming delta 8 products. Amber Smith, Discover Magazine, 14 Aug. 2023 And yet the show is purpose-built not to elevate or to celebrate Winbush but to somewhat ruthlessly pull apart the ways in which she might be made to look unready for the job and unsteady on her feet. Daniel D'addario, Variety, 10 July 2023 In late 2020, Williams suffered a stroke that left her unsteady on her feet and unable to play guitar. Allison Stewart, Washington Post, 7 May 2023 During an interview with deputies, Zook began to slur and became unsteady. Andrea Vacchiano, Fox News, 5 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'unsteady.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


1532, in the meaning defined above


1551, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of unsteady was in 1532

Dictionary Entries Near unsteady

Cite this Entry

“Unsteady.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unsteady. Accessed 4 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


: not steady : unstable

More from Merriam-Webster on unsteady

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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