AskDefine | Define unsteady

Dictionary Definition

unsteady adj
1 subject to change or variation especially in behavior; "her unsteady walk"; "his hand was unsteady as he poured the wine"; "an unsteady voice" [ant: steady]
2 not having a steady rhythm; "an arrhythmic heartbeat" [syn: arrhythmic, jerking, jerky]
3 not firmly or solidly positioned; "climbing carefully up the unsteady ladder"; "an unfirm stance" [syn: unfirm] [also: unsteadied]

User Contributed Dictionary




Created by adding the prefix un- to steady. Like steady, the word first appeared in English around 1530. The word is comparable to the Old Frisian onstedich, the Low German unstadig etc.


  1. Not held firmly in position.
  2. Noted for lack of regularity or uniformity.
  3. Inconstant in purpose, or volatile in behaviour.




  1. To render unsteady, removing balance.

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

adrift, afloat, alternating, amorphous, broken, canted, capricious, careening, catchy, changeable, changeful, changing, choppy, dancing, dangerous, desultory, deviable, deviating, deviative, deviatory, different, dilapidated, disconnected, discontinuous, disorderly, divaricate, divergent, diversified, diversiform, dizzy, doddering, doubtful, dubious, eccentric, erose, erratic, fast and loose, fickle, fitful, flickering, flickery, flicky, flighty, flitting, fluctuating, fluid, fluttering, fluttery, freakish, giddy, groggy, guttering, halting, hazardous, heeling, herky-jerky, heteroclite, ill-balanced, immethodical, impetuous, impulsive, inconsistent, inconstant, indecisive, infirm, insecure, insubstantial, intermittent, intermitting, irregular, irresolute, irresponsible, jagged, jerky, leaning, listing, lopsided, lurching, mazy, mercurial, mobile, moody, motley, moving, mutable, nonconformist, nonstandard, nonuniform, off-balance, overbalanced, patchy, perilous, pluralistic, precarious, protean, provisional, ragged, rambling, ramshackle, restless, ricketish, rickety, risky, rocky, rough, roving, scatterbrained, scrappy, shaky, shapeless, shifting, shifty, shuffling, slippery, snatchy, spasmatic, spasmic, spasmodic, spastic, spidery, spindly, spineless, spluttering, sporadic, spotty, sputtering, sputtery, staggering, teetering, teetery, temporary, tentative, ticklish, top-heavy, tottering, tottery, treacherous, tumbledown, unaccountable, unbalanced, uncertain, uncontrolled, undependable, undisciplined, unequable, unequal, uneven, unfaithworthy, unfixed, unhealthy, unmethodical, unmetrical, unorthodox, unpredictable, unregular, unreliable, unrestrained, unrhythmical, unsafe, unsettled, unsolid, unsound, unstable, unstable as water, unstaid, unsteadfast, unsubstantial, unsure, unsystematic, untrustworthy, ununiform, vacillating, vagrant, variable, variegated, variform, various, varying, veering, vicissitudinary, vicissitudinous, volatile, wandering, wanton, wavering, wavery, wavy, wayward, whimsical, wishy-washy, wobbling, wobbly
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