Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[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. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for unsettling
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • They were unsettling, they caused pain; and, what was worse, they might have been true for all we knew.

  • I knew it was her voice, and not her logic, that was unsettling me.

    The Long Run Edith Wharton
  • He seems to know that some unsettling and untoward event is on the way.

    The Prairie Mother Arthur Stringer
  • Moments like this were unsettling—and to be guarded against.

    The Tyranny of Weakness Charles Neville Buck
  • True believers were so scarce that it was wicked to think of unsettling their faith.

    Miss Mapp Edward Frederic Benson
British Dictionary definitions for unsettling


(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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for unsettling



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
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for unsettling

Word Value for unsettling

Scrabble Words With Friends