[ uhn-sted-ee ]
See synonyms for: unsteadyunsteadiedunsteadierunsteadiest on Thesaurus.com

  1. not steady or firm; unstable; shaky: an unsteady hand.

  2. fluctuating or wavering: an unsteady flame; unsteady prices.

  1. irregular or uneven: an unsteady development.

verb (used with object),un·stead·ied, un·stead·y·ing.
  1. to make unsteady.

Origin of unsteady

First recorded in 1525–35; un-1 + steady

synonym study For unsteady

1. See unsettled.

Other words for unsteady

Other words from unsteady

  • un·stead·i·ly, adverb
  • un·stead·i·ness, noun

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use unsteady in a sentence

  • He returned unsteadily to his chair, and sat staring straight into the embers, his hands to his hot, fevered brow.

    The Doctor of Pimlico | William Le Queux
  • Paul rose unsteadily to his feet, and took the count's hand.

    Paul Patoff | F. Marion Crawford
  • As he rose unsteadily Kilmeny closed, threw him hard, and fell on top.

    The Highgrader | William MacLeod Raine
  • He went on a little unsteadily, like a man who is not sure of his sight.

    The Child of Pleasure | Gabriele D'Annunzio

British Dictionary definitions for unsteady


/ (ʌnˈstɛdɪ) /

  1. not securely fixed: an unsteady foothold

  2. (of behaviour, etc) lacking constancy; erratic

  1. without regularity: an unsteady rhythm

  2. (of a manner of walking, etc) precarious, staggering, as from intoxication

verb-steadies, -steadying or -steadied
  1. (tr) to make unsteady

Derived forms of unsteady

  • unsteadily, adverb
  • unsteadiness, noun

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