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[uhn-set-l] /ʌnˈsɛt l/
verb (used with object), unsettled, unsettling.
to alter from a settled state; cause to be no longer firmly fixed or established; render unstable; disturb:
Violence unsettled the government.
to shake or weaken (beliefs, feelings, etc.); cause doubt or uncertainty about:
doubts unsettling his religious convictions.
to vex or agitate the mind or emotions of; upset; discompose:
The quarrel unsettled her.
verb (used without object), unsettled, unsettling.
to become unfixed or disordered.
Origin of unsettle
First recorded in 1535-45; un-2 + settle1
2. upset, disturb, unbalance, confuse, disconcert. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for unsettle
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I am unused to such as these, gentlemen,—they unsettle—they unman me.

    Sir Brook Fossbrooke, Volume I. Charles James Lever
  • Anything that could unsettle the public opinion in the capital was to be avoided.

  • If you move about much you're likely to unsettle the clot and start it again.

    The Boy Scout Treasure Hunters Charles Henry Lerrigo
  • And, not knowing him so well as I did afterwards, I feared lest I should unsettle him.

    Apologia Pro Vita Sua John Henry Cardinal Newman
  • She will unsettle half the young Sisters, and turn the heads of half the others.

    In Convent Walls Emily Sarah Holt
  • In Europe it will unsettle every throne but one—that is, Israel, England.

  • He believed in education, provided it did not unsettle things.

    The Brown Mouse Herbert Quick
  • Metaphysicians can unsettle things, but they can erect nothing.

    Pearls of Thought Maturin M. Ballou
  • When I came she told me she hoped I had no relations to unsettle me.

    A Pair of Clogs Amy Walton
British Dictionary definitions for unsettle


(usually transitive) to change or become changed from a fixed or settled condition
(transitive) to confuse or agitate (emotions, the mind, etc)
Derived Forms
unsettlement, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for unsettle

1590s, "undo from a fixed position, from un- (2) + settle (v.). Of the mind, feelings, etc., attested from 1640s. Unsettled "not peaceful, not firmly established" is recorded from 1590s. Meaning "not occupied by settlers" is attested from 1724. Related: Unsettled; unsettling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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