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off balance

1

Out of equilibrium, unsteady, as in When learning how to ride a two-wheeler, it's easy to get off balance and fall, or She stood up and threw the canoe off balance. [Mid-1900s]

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2

Surprised, unprepared, as in The teacher gives unannounced tests to keep the class off balance. [Second half of 1900s]

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

Related Words

lopsidedunsteady

Examples from the Web for off-balance

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Even when she was off-balance, her feet tapped out the elementary routine.

    At the Post

    Horace Leonard Gold

  • Retief put out an arm as the vehicle rounded a corner, just catching the ambassador as he staggered, off-balance.

    The Yillian Way

    John Keith Laumer

  • Youre not yourself; youre over-strained and off-balance and Im so frightfully sorry all this has fallen upon you at such a time.

    Adrienne Toner

    Anne Douglas Sedgwick

  • The second beam took Rynason in the left wrist and spun him off-balance for a moment.

    Warlord of Kor

    Terry Gene Carr