off balance

Idioms & Phrases

off balance

  1. 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]

  2. Surprised, unprepared, as in The teacher gives unannounced tests to keep the class off balance. [Second half of 1900s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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