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off balance

Out of equilibrium, unsteady, as in When learning how to ride a two-wheeler, it's easy to get off balance and fall, or She stood up and threw the canoe off balance. [ Mid-1900s ]
Surprised, unprepared, as in The teacher gives unannounced tests to keep the class off balance. [ Second half of 1900s ]
The American HeritageĀ® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright Ā© 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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  • Youre not yourself; youre over-strained and off-balance and Im so frightfully sorry all this has fallen upon you at such a time.

    Adrienne Toner Anne Douglas Sedgwick
  • Retief put out an arm as the vehicle rounded a corner, just catching the ambassador as he staggered, off-balance.

    The Yillian Way John Keith Laumer
  • The second beam took Rynason in the left wrist and spun him off-balance for a moment.

    Warlord of Kor Terry Gene Carr
  • Even when she was off-balance, her feet tapped out the elementary routine.

    At the Post Horace Leonard Gold

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