- to walk, move, or stand unsteadily.
- to falter or begin to give way, as in an argument or fight.
- to waver or begin to doubt, as in purpose or opinion; hesitate: After staggering momentarily, he recognized that he had to make a decision.
- to cause to reel, totter, or become unsteady: This load would stagger an elephant.
- to shock; render helpless with amazement or the like; astonish: The vastness of outer space staggers the mind.
- to cause to waver or falter: The news staggered her belief in the triumph of justice.
- to arrange in a zigzag order or manner on either side of a center: The captain staggered the troops along the road.
- to arrange otherwise than at the same time, especially in a series of alternating or continually overlapping intervals: They planned to stagger lunch hours so that the cafeteria would not be rushed.
- Aeronautics. to arrange (the wings of a biplane or the like) so that the entering edge of an upper wing is either in advance of or behind that of a corresponding lower wing.
- the act of staggering; a reeling or tottering movement or motion.
- a staggered order or arrangement.
- a staggered arrangement of wings.
- the amount of staggering.
- staggers. (used with a singular verb) Veterinary Pathology.
- Also called blind staggers.acute selenium poisoning of livestock characterized by a staggering gait usually followed by respiratory failure and death.
- a condition of unknown cause, occurring in pregnant sheep, cattle, and other animals during or just following extended transport, characterized by a staggering gait and progressive paralysis.
Origin of stagger
SynonymsSee more synonyms for stagger on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for stagger
A miner puts his head down and runs, with a long swinging stride, through places where I can only stagger.Thatcher's Economic Legacy
April 8, 2013
Unless we stagger the hours of medical service provision, all those people will end up in the emergency room.The Sleepless Economy
January 15, 2013
His cheeks bright red, his chin wet with spittle, the helot would weave and stagger and totter until he passed out in the dirt.Persian Fire and Rubicon (Full)
September 23, 2012
The campaign will now stagger through the February doldrums.Money Changed Everything for Mitt Romney in Florida Primary
February 1, 2012
If News Corp. really distrusted a former staffer, it might stagger her severance payments, says Estreicher.What Brooks Severance Buys Murdoch
November 7, 2011
Mr Vladimir did not stumble, did not stagger back, did not change his stride.The Secret Agent
She saw De Launay stagger again and felt that she was about to faint.Louisiana Lou
William West Winter
Later, she used to stagger from one hammock to another and swing them.Lotus Buds
Twice they were driven to their knees, only to stagger on as the convulsions lessened.The Golden Woman
She thumps and lurches, and they stagger together, feeling sick.Within the Tides
- (usually intr) to walk or cause to walk unsteadily as if about to fall
- (tr) to astound or overwhelm, as with shockI am staggered by his ruthlessness
- (tr) to place or arrange in alternating or overlapping positions or time periods to prevent confusion or congestiona staggered junction; to stagger holidays
- (intr) to falter or hesitatehis courage staggered in the face of the battle
- (tr) to set (the wings of a biplane) so that the leading edge of one extends beyond that of the other
- the act or an instance of staggering
- a staggered arrangement on a biplane, etc
Word Origin and History for stagger
1520s, altered from stakeren (c.1300), from Old Norse stakra or Old Danish stagra, both "to push, stagger." Cognate with Dutch staggelen "to stagger," German staggeln "to stammer." Transitive sense of "bewilder, amaze" first recorded 1550s; that of "arrange in a zig-zag pattern" is from 1856. Related: Staggered; staggering.