• synonyms


[in-stey-buh l]
  1. not stable; unstable.
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Origin of instable

First recorded in 1375–1425; late Middle English word from Latin word instabilis. See in-3, stable2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for instable

Historical Examples

  • The day was dying, and the instable, impossible love was dying, too.

    The Shadow of Life

    Anne Douglas Sedgwick

  • The resultant situation, being profoundly unsatisfactory, would also be instable.

  • Skill was slowly obtained, and success, though integrity and independence must be given for it, dubious and instable.

    Memoirs of Carwin the Biloquist

    Charles Brockden Brown

  • The idea of justice, since it is subject, to the variations of sensibility, is of the most instable sort.

  • But not many days passed before the instable people discovered how great a loss he was to them.

    Naples Past and Present

    Arthur H. Norway

British Dictionary definitions for instable


  1. a less common word for unstable
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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

Word Origin and History for instable


c.1400, from Latin instabilis, from in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + stabilis (see stable). Now mostly replaced by unstable.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper