un·​steady | \ˌən-ˈste-dē \
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 \ adverb
unsteadiness \ ˌən-​ˈste-​dē-​nəs \ 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 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

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 Privacy - Terms But Friday, in what was his second start since returning from the DL, Chen was once again unsteady, serving up a pair of home runs in the first and walking four batters overall in the loss. Clark Spencer, miamiherald, "A bad first inning hurts Chen as Miami Marlins are unable to rally past Reds," 4 May 2018 In Niger, where the majority head, the lucky ones limp across a desolate 15-kilometer (9-mile) no-man’s-land to Assamaka, less a town than a collection of unsteady buildings sinking into drifts of sand. Richard Prince, The Root, "Obama Was More Aware of Racism Than We Saw," 27 June 2018 Beaufort appears unsteady on his feet and has great difficulty walking. David Owens, courant.com, "Judge Withdraws Plea Deal After Victim Speaks In Court," 26 Apr. 2018 Pakistan is also a key supply route–and unsteady ally–in the U.S.’s 16-year war in Afghanistan. Time, "Cricket Hero Imran Khan Led Pakistan's Team to Victory. As a Politician, He's Riding a Populist Wave," 28 June 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 \
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

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).


a trusted follower

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
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!