[ uhn-sted-ee ]
/ ʌnˈstɛd i /


not steady or firm; unstable; shaky: an unsteady hand.
fluctuating or wavering: an unsteady flame; unsteady prices.
irregular or uneven: an unsteady development.

verb (used with object), un·stead·ied, un·stead·y·ing.

to make unsteady.

Nearby words

  1. unstained,
  2. unstalked,
  3. unstarry,
  4. unstate,
  5. unstated,
  6. unsteel,
  7. unstep,
  8. unsterile,
  9. unstick,
  10. unstinted

Origin of unsteady

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

1. See unsettled. 2. vacillating, flickering.

Related formsun·stead·i·ly, adverbun·stead·i·ness, noun

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for unsteadiness

British Dictionary definitions for unsteadiness


/ (ʌnˈstɛdɪ) /


not securely fixedan unsteady foothold
(of behaviour, etc) lacking constancy; erratic
without regularityan unsteady rhythm
(of a manner of walking, etc) precarious, staggering, as from intoxication

verb -steadies, -steadying or -steadied

(tr) to make unsteady
Derived Formsunsteadily, adverbunsteadiness, 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

Word Origin and History for unsteadiness



1590s, from un- (1) "not" + steady (adj.). Cf. Old Frisian unstadich, German unstätig, Middle Dutch onstadich.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper