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90s Slang You Should Know


[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 unsettling
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Is or is not the story of Robert Elsmere unsettling to one's beliefs?

    Coffee and Repartee John Kendrick Bangs
  • He seems to know that some unsettling and untoward event is on the way.

    The Prairie Mother Arthur Stringer
  • Also, she knew that their reading of the war in Europe had been having an unsettling effect upon both of them.

    The Hills of Desire Richard Aumerle Maher
  • Moments like this were unsettling—and to be guarded against.

    The Tyranny of Weakness Charles Neville Buck
  • From the very beginning he had felt an unsettling, peculiar manner about these people.

    The Book Michael Shaara
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
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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
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