View synonyms for unsettled


[ uhn-set-ld ]


  1. not settled; not fixed or stable; without established order; unorganized; disorganized:

    an unsettled social order; still unsettled in their new home.

    Antonyms: stable

  2. continuously moving or changing; not situated in one place:

    an unsettled life.

  3. wavering or uncertain, as in opinions or behavior; unstable; erratic:

    an unsettled state of mind.

    Antonyms: stable

  4. not populated or settled, as a region:

    an unsettled wilderness.

  5. undetermined, as a point at issue; undecided; doubtful:

    After many years the matter was still unsettled.

    Synonyms: unsure, indeterminate

  6. not adjusted, closed, or disposed of, as an account, estate, or law case.
  7. liable to change; inconstant; variable:

    unsettled weather.

    Synonyms: irresolute, fickle, vacillating


/ ʌnˈsɛtəld /


  1. lacking order or stability

    an unsettled era

  2. unpredictable; uncertain

    an unsettled climate

  3. constantly changing or moving from place to place

    an unsettled life

  4. (of controversy, etc) not brought to an agreed conclusion
  5. (of debts, law cases, etc) not disposed of
  6. (of regions, etc) devoid of settlers

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Derived Forms

  • unˈsettledness, noun

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Other Words From

  • un·settled·ness noun

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Word History and Origins

Origin of unsettled1

First recorded in 1585–95; un- 1 + settle 1 + -ed 2

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Synonym Study

Unsettled, unstable, unsteady imply a lack of fixity, firmness, and dependability. That which is unsettled is not fixed or determined: unsettled weather; unsettled claims. That which is unstable is wavering, changeable; easily moved, shaken, or overthrown: unstable equilibrium; an unstable decision. That which is unsteady is infirm or shaky in position or movement: unsteady on one's feet; unsteady of purpose.

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Example Sentences

The three people who recounted the president’s unsettled response spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.

I also avoid the unsettled tummy I sometimes get from other post-workout shakes and meals.

So after Lagarias and Shor, the only unsettled dimensions were seven, eight and nine.

That growing body of research can help explain the unrest people are now experiencing as beloved rituals go virtual or get punted to some unsettled future.

When India gained its independence in 1947, it inherited unsettled frontiers with several neighbours.

If these issues raise uncomfortable questions for Democrats, Clinton has reasons not to be too unsettled.

They were the women voters who turned to the GOP in the past when things got unsettled internationally.

“Things have been pretty unsettled,” said third-year student Joe Pittman.

The details of exactly what Obama would do and how many people stood to get legal status were unsettled.

Unsettled by the reality that the cops can't help them, Oakland residents are hiring private patrols.

The ensuing day the weather was still squally and unsettled.

There is no doubt the Government land unsettled and untouched in this province amounts to 90 per cent.

The comtesse vanished at the end of six months, leaving a board bill unsettled.

These and other unsettled points the following inquiry attempts to make clear.

Last year the great question of the Spanish succession was unsettled, and there was serious danger of a general war.


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More About Unsettled

What does unsettled mean?

Something that is unsettled is not stable or is unorganized, as in While the contractor works on the kitchen, all of our kitchen things are unsettled.

Unsettled is most often used figuratively to mean undecided, unadjusted, or wavering. Someone who is unsettled is normally disturbed by some type of imagery or by a decision they have made. They may be unable to focus or have a lot of different emotions—they feel unsettled.

Literally, something that is unsettled is off balance, moving constantly, or unstable. A building slowly sliding down a hill is an example of a structure that has become unsettled. Unsettled can apply to anything that moves, such as animals, vehicles, or even rainclouds. When you say movement is unsettled, you’re saying the movement is erratic.

Unsettled land is land where no one or very few people live. 

Example: That scary movie made me so unsettled that I couldn’t sleep for a week.

Where does unsettled come from?

The first records of the term unsettled come from the 1580s. It combines the prefix un meaning “not,” the English word settle, meaning “to appoint or fix,” and the suffix ed, which creates adjectives out of verbs.

You might hear someone described as unsettled to mean they have no stable home or base. The term unsettled is sometimes used to describe refugees or migrants from warring nations who are forced to leave their homes. The 2019 movie Unsettled: Seeking Refuge in America is an example of this usage. The film deals with several LGBTQ+ refugees fleeing their home nations to live in a more accepting United States.

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What are some other forms related to unsettled?

  • unsettledness (noun)

What are some synonyms for unsettled?

What are some words that share a root or word element with unsettled

What are some words that often get used in discussing unsettled?

How is unsettled used in real life?

Unsettled is most often used to describe how a person feels about something.


Try using unsettled!

Which of the following is NOT a synonym for unsettled?

A. uneasy
B. uncertain
C. calm
D. restless