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[uhn-set-l] /ʌnˈsɛt l/
verb (used with object), unsettled, unsettling.
to alter from a settled state; cause to be no longer firmly fixed or established; render unstable; disturb:
Violence unsettled the government.
to shake or weaken (beliefs, feelings, etc.); cause doubt or uncertainty about:
doubts unsettling his religious convictions.
to vex or agitate the mind or emotions of; upset; discompose:
The quarrel unsettled her.
verb (used without object), unsettled, unsettling.
to become unfixed or disordered.
Origin of unsettle
1535-45; un-2 + settle1
2. upset, disturb, unbalance, confuse, disconcert. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for unsettle
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It should be realized, too, how far the new departure does unsettle the practice and policy of a century.

    Problems of Expansion Whitelaw Reid
  • I am unused to such as these, gentlemen,—they unsettle—they unman me.

    Sir Brook Fossbrooke, Volume I. Charles James Lever
  • Do you go with us, and unsettle your mind for the university?

    The Caxtons, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • And, not knowing him so well as I did afterwards, I feared lest I should unsettle him.

    Apologia Pro Vita Sua John Henry Cardinal Newman
  • I hope you will never say anything to unsettle the faith of the little girls.

    The Open Question Elizabeth Robins
  • She will unsettle half the young Sisters, and turn the heads of half the others.

    In Convent Walls Emily Sarah Holt
  • He said how foolish it was to unsettle the mind by preposterous fancies and impossible hopes.

    What Will He Do With It, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • In Europe it will unsettle every throne but one—that is, Israel, England.

  • And truly it did seem impossible to unsettle that sweet gravity of hers, though it often unsettled mine.

British Dictionary definitions for unsettle


(usually transitive) to change or become changed from a fixed or settled condition
(transitive) to confuse or agitate (emotions, the mind, etc)
Derived Forms
unsettlement, 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
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Word Origin and History for unsettle

1590s, "undo from a fixed position, from un- (2) + settle (v.). Of the mind, feelings, etc., attested from 1640s. Unsettled "not peaceful, not firmly established" is recorded from 1590s. Meaning "not occupied by settlers" is attested from 1724. Related: Unsettled; unsettling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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