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unsteady

[uhn-sted-ee] /ʌnˈstɛd i/
adjective
1.
not steady or firm; unstable; shaky:
an unsteady hand.
2.
fluctuating or wavering:
an unsteady flame; unsteady prices.
3.
irregular or uneven:
an unsteady development.
verb (used with object), unsteadied, unsteadying.
4.
to make unsteady.
Origin of unsteady
1525-1535
1525-35; un-1 + steady
Related forms
unsteadily, adverb
unsteadiness, noun
Synonyms
1. See unsettled. 2. vacillating, flickering.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for unsteady
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • With unsteady gait, a smile on his lips, he approached the king.

    Goethe and Schiller L. Mhlbach
  • Blandois' hand was unsteady; but he laughed, and that would naturally shake it.

    Little Dorrit Charles Dickens
  • Eye and hand were too unsteady to do good service in picking off escaladers.

    The Golden Silence C. N. Williamson and A. M. Williamson
  • They were done with some very poor instrument, and hurriedly, with an unsteady hand.

    A Tale of Two Cities Charles Dickens
  • Mawkish and over-mellow becometh the fruit in their hands: unsteady, and withered at the top, doth their look make the fruit-tree.

    Thus Spake Zarathustra Friedrich Nietzsche
  • He looked down at his sister with glittering and unsteady eyes.

    Roden's Corner Henry Seton Merriman
  • "Let me rub your colours for you," said Mrs. Fitzpatrick, taking a cake from her daughter's unsteady hand.

British Dictionary definitions for unsteady

unsteady

/ʌnˈstɛdɪ/
adjective
1.
not securely fixed: an unsteady foothold
2.
(of behaviour, etc) lacking constancy; erratic
3.
without regularity: an unsteady rhythm
4.
(of a manner of walking, etc) precarious, staggering, as from intoxication
verb -steadies, -steadying, -steadied
5.
(transitive) to make unsteady
Derived Forms
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
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Word Origin and History for unsteady
adj.

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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