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[uhn-sted-ee] /ʌnˈstɛd i/
not steady or firm; unstable; shaky:
an unsteady hand.
fluctuating or wavering:
an unsteady flame; unsteady prices.
irregular or uneven:
an unsteady development.
verb (used with object), unsteadied, unsteadying.
to make unsteady.
Origin of unsteady
First recorded in 1525-35; un-1 + steady
Related forms
unsteadily, adverb
unsteadiness, noun
1. See unsettled. 2. vacillating, flickering. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for unsteadily
Historical Examples
  • “I think I will go up and call on William,” she said, unsteadily.

    The Very Small Person Annie Hamilton Donnell
  • He rose to his feet, so unsteadily that his chair fell over with a bang.

    Mistress Wilding Rafael Sabatini
  • He goes off unsteadily; then from out of the luminous mists there appears the Jam-wagon.

    The Trail of '98

    Robert W. Service
  • He found himself able to rise and his legs carried him unsteadily to the door.

    Erik Dorn

    Ben Hecht
  • "It is not the prize that we wish," returned Madge unsteadily.

    Madge Morton's Secret

    Amy D. V. Chalmers
  • The one next to me has them all pinched to death, breathed Harrow unsteadily.

    Iole Robert W. Chambers
  • I wish you—I wish I could choose—everything for you, he said unsteadily.

    Iole Robert W. Chambers
  • You—you find a child—you leave a woman, she said unsteadily.

    Iole Robert W. Chambers
  • unsteadily as she spoke, there was so strange a power in her voice that Theo obeyed her.

    Theo Mrs. Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • The clouds had lifted as he walked swiftly but unsteadily onward.

    Border Ghost Stories Howard Pease
British Dictionary definitions for unsteadily


not securely fixed: an unsteady foothold
(of behaviour, etc) lacking constancy; erratic
without regularity: an unsteady rhythm
(of a manner of walking, etc) precarious, staggering, as from intoxication
verb -steadies, -steadying, -steadied
(transitive) to make unsteady
Derived Forms
unsteadily, adverb
unsteadiness, 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 unsteadily



1590s, from un- (1) "not" + steady (adj.). Cf. Old Frisian unstadich, German unstätig, Middle Dutch onstadich.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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