- 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 staggers
Wherever life has not died out, it staggers to its feet again.Brecht's Mercenary Mother Courage Turns 75
September 10, 2014
McDonald staggers through the crowd – to run off stage and get a fix – and nearly tumbles onto a table.Audra for the Win: Why Audra McDonald Must Win Tony for Best Actress
June 7, 2014
She said it was what she always used in Africa for bull-calves with the staggers.The Girl on the Boat
Pelham Grenville Wodehouse
With that I gives him a push and Ernie staggers over to the curb.Torchy and Vee
Before he is there, Skallagrim staggers to his side with a rush.Eric Brighteyes
H. Rider Haggard
He staggers over to couch and sits upon it, groaning heavily.Semiramis and Other Plays
Olive Tilford Dargan
Like one roused from some strange stupor, Frank staggers to his feet.The Diamond Coterie
Lawrence L. Lynch
- a form of vertigo associated with decompression sickness
- Also called: blind staggers a disease of horses and some other domestic animals characterized by a swaying unsteady gait, caused by infection, toxins, or lesions of the central nervous system
- (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 staggers
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.