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[in-stuh-bil-i-tee] /ˌɪn stəˈbɪl ɪ ti/
the quality or state of being unstable; lack of stability or firmness.
the tendency to behave in an unpredictable, changeable, or erratic manner:
emotional instability.
Origin of instability
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English instabilite < Latin instabilitās. See in-3, stability Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for instability
  • According to climatologists, atmospheric instability eventually influences geological stability.
  • And it stated that the sudden departure of high-level administrators had created instability at the college.
  • All of these elements can create a new round of transition issues and considerable instability.
  • It's surprising, even at a small place, how much emotional turbulence and instability there is at the employee-relations level.
  • The instability of the evolutionary trees being produced should make us proceed with caution.
  • Beyond this indication of extensive decay, however, the fabric gave little token of instability.
  • Given the region's geologic instability, fossils aren't well preserved in rock layers.
  • The research supports the idea that instability in genes may be a major factor in aging, the authors say.
  • instability and desperation in turn fueled more destructive wars.
  • Travelling constantly from place to place made for instability.
British Dictionary definitions for instability


noun (pl) -ties
lack of stability or steadiness
tendency to variable or unpredictable behaviour
(physics) a fast growing disturbance or wave in a plasma
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
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Word Origin and History for instability

early 15c., from Middle French instabilite "inconstancy," from Latin instabilitatem (nominative instabilitas) "unsteadiness," from instabilis "unsteady," from in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + stabilis (see stable (2)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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