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Stories We Like: A Guide to the Comma

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Out of equilibrium, unsteady, as in When learning how to ride a two-wheeler, it's easy to get off balance and fall, or She stood up and threw the canoe off balance. [ Mid-1900s ]
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Surprised, unprepared, as in The teacher gives unannounced tests to keep the class off balance. [ Second half of 1900s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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