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A man who has been unseated (sense 1) from his horse.

From un- (suffix meaning ‘not’) +‎ seat (to provide with a place to sit).[1]





unseat (third-person singular simple present unseats, present participle unseating, simple past and past participle unseated)

  1. (transitive) To dislodge or remove (someone) from a seat, especially on horseback.
    Hyponym: unhorse
    The frightened horse reared up and unseated its rider.
    I was unseated from my bike after hitting an unexpected pothole.
    • 1596, Edmund Spenser, “Book IV, Canto X”, in The Faerie Queene. [], part II (books IV–VI), London: [] [Richard Field] for William Ponsonby, →OCLC, stanza 10, page 141:
      VVhom boldly I encountred (as I could) / And by good fortune ſhortly him vnſeated. / Eftſoones out ſprung two more of equall mould; / But I them both with equall hap defeated: []
    • 1609, Ammianus Marcellinus, “[The XVII. Booke.] Chapter III. A Long Narration as Touching the Obeliske, which was Erected in the Greatest Shew-place at Rome.”, in Philemon Holland, transl., The Roman Historie, [], London: [] Adam Jslip, →OCLC, page 84:
      But Conſtantine [the Great] [] diſplaced and unſeated this huge maſſe [an obelisk], yea, and thinking truly, that it vvas no breach nor offence of religion, if taking this admirable monument out of one temple, he conſecrated it in Rome, that is to ſay, the temple of the vvhole vvorld, ſuffered it to lye a long time, vvhiles neceſſarie meanes for the tranſlation thereof vvere a providing.
    • 1785, William Cowper, “Book VI. The Winter Walk at Noon.”, in The Task, a Poem, [], London: [] J[oseph] Johnson;  [], →OCLC, page 259:
      His horſe, as he had caught he maſter's mood, / Snorting, and ſtarting into ſudden rage, / Unbidden, and not novv to be controul'd, / Rusſh'd to the cliff, and having reach'd it, ſtood / At once the shock unſeated him.
    • 1835, [Washington Irving], chapter XX, in A Tour on the Prairies (The Crayon Miscellany; no. 1), Philadelphia, Pa.: [Henry Charles] Carey, [Isaac] Lea, & Blanchard, →OCLC, page 151:
      He had another formidable difficulty in getting him across the river, where both horses stuck for a time in the mire, and Beatte was nearly unseated from his saddle by the force of the current and the struggles of his captive.
    • 1898, G[eorge] A[lfred] Henty, At Aboukir and Acre: A Story of Napoleon's Invasion of Egypt, London, Glasgow: Blackie & Son, →OCLC, page 23:
      They nearly unseated me from the suddenness of the attack, and as I recovered I certainly struck at them with my whip.
    • 1980, Bill Pronzini, Mummy! A Chrestomathy of Crypt-ology, New York, N.Y.: Arbor House, →ISBN, page 237:
      Gray screamed and shuddered, rearing and turning as the ground opened in front of us. It unseated me, and I fell, my boots sliding out of the stirrups as if they were greased.
    • 1990, Louis L’Amour, The Outlaws of Mesquite, London, New York, N.Y.: Bantam Press, →ISBN, page 67:
      He came out full of fight, bucking like a demon, swiveling his hips, hooking left and right with his short, blunted horns, fighting like mad to unseat the rider who clung to the rigging behind his hump.
    • 2015 January 16, Joe Drape, “Horses’ deaths at aqueduct prompt new rules”, in The New York Times[1], New York, N.Y.: The New York Times Company, →ISSN, →OCLC, archived from the original on 2023-02-07:
      On Thursday, You Take the Cake, after finishing third in a low-level sprint, fell to the ground and unseated her rider, Wilmer Garcia.
    • 2017, Rachel Caine [pseudonym; Roxanne Longstreet Conrad], Ash and Quill, New York, N.Y.: Berkley, →ISBN, page 34:
      Strip the netting under the mattresses. Braid it together, tie it to the window bars, and twist. The torque will unseat at least one of the bars pretty easily.
    • 2019 September 6, John Bennett, “Bark worse than bike! BMX racer ploughs head-first into tree during high-speed mountain trail”, in Daily Mail[2], London: DMG Media, →ISSN, →OCLC, archived from the original on 2023-03-06:
      As his front wheel clips a tree the bike breaks into a jarring 180 degree spin violently unseating the rider.
    • 2022 March 5, John Cherwa, “Richard Mandella back in Kentucky Derby picture after Forbidden Kingdom’s win”, in Los Angeles Times[3], Los Angeles, Calif.: Los Angeles Times Communications, →ISSN, →OCLC, archived from the original on 2022-05-17:
      The Fountain of Youth race had a spill coming into the stretch when High Oak and Galt clipped heels, unseating both jockeys and sending both horses to the ground.
  2. (transitive, figuratively)
    1. To remove (someone) from an office or position, especially a political one; to dethrone.
      Synonyms: depose, oust, overthrow
      Antonyms: appoint, enthrone, empower, install
      After having lost her seat to a Tory, she succeeded in unseating him in the next general election.
      India has recently unseated China as the world’s most populous country.
      • 1611, Iohn Speed [i.e., John Speed], “Stephen, the Two and Fortieth Monarch of the English-men: His Raigne, Acts, and Issue”, in The History of Great Britaine under the Conquests of yͤ Romans, Saxons, Danes and Normans. [], London: [] William Hall and John Beale, for John Sudbury and George Humble, [], →OCLC, book IX ([Englands Monarchs] []), paragraph 13, page 447, column 2:
        And thus thoſe Forts vvhich vvere erected to defend the Crovvne, firſt offended the King, ſome fevv vvhereof as he recouered, he flatted to the ground, and vviſhed the other no higher vvalls; ſtill ſvvearing by Gods Birth (his vſuall Oath) hee vvould not ſlightly bee vnſeated of his Crovvne, and vvondring vvhat ſhould mooue them, vvho had ſo readilie aduanced him, ſo ſpeedily to vnſtate him.
      • 1661, J[ohn] D[avies], chapter CVIII, in The Civil Warres of Great Britain and Ireland. [], London: [] R. W. for Philip Chetwind, [], →OCLC, page 371:
        But notvvithſtanding all theſe endeavours of theirs, the nine aforementioned VVorthies are reſolved not to part ſo tamely from their Commands, but having made their party as ſtrong as they could, reſolved next morning to unſeat the Parliament once more; []
      • 1834 September, [Christian Isobel Johnstone], “The Experiences of Richard Taylor, Esq. Chapter VIII.—Governor Fox.—Part II.”, in William Tait, editor, Tait’s Edinburgh Magazine, volume I, number VIII, Edinburgh: W. Tait, →OCLC, pages 540–541:
        We carried through our man with great eclat, though protests were taken by the other candidate against so many of our votes, that, had one third of the exceptions held good, it was clear the Governor must be unseated.
      • 1927 October, Emil Ludwig, chapter VII, in Eden Paul, Cedar Paul, transl., Bismarck: The Story of a Fighter, New York, N.Y.: Blue Ribbon Books, published February 1932, →OCLC, book 4 (1872–1888: The Ruler), page 459:
        As a result, the anti-Bismarck circles are encouraged in their hope of at length unseating the everlasting chancellor.
      • 2017 March 30, Jarad Wilk, “Fantasy baseball’s overrated/underrated team”, in New York Post[4], New York, N.Y.: News Corp, →ISSN, →OCLC, archived from the original on 2020-11-11:
        He's [Héctor Neris's] not Philadelphia's closer yet, but it's only a matter of time until he unseats Jeanmar Gomez.
      • 2020 September 1, “BTS: K-pop stars become first all-South Korean act to top US singles charts”, in Katharine Viner, editor, The Guardian[5], London: Guardian News & Media, →ISSN, →OCLC, archived from the original on 2023-01-02:
        In securing the top spot, the song unseats Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion's hit WAP, a not-safe-for-work track that held No 1 for two weeks.
      • 2020 October 31, Verity Bowman, “Donald Trump and Joe Biden updates ahead of polling day”, in Chris Evans, editor, The Daily Telegraph[6], London: Telegraph Media Group, →ISSN, →OCLC, archived from the original on 2021-07-27:
        If Democratic nominee Joe Biden unseats Mr [Donald] Trump, but fails to gain the Senate, he could be left unable to pass legislation important to his presidency – on issues such as healthcare, climate change and immigration.
      • 2022 January 13, Rachel Siegel, “Brainard questioned on inflation, climate risk issues as part of nomination to become Fed’s second-in-command”, in The Washington Post[7], Washington, D.C.: The Washington Post Company, →ISSN, →OCLC, archived from the original on 2022-01-25:
        [Lael] Brainard, the only Democrat on the Fed's board, was once the top contender to unseat Fed Chair Jerome H. Powell.
      • 2023 June 28, “Network News: Bedford Mayor Opposes East West Rail over Value of Houses on Route”, in Rail, number 986, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire: Bauer Media, →ISSN, →OCLC, page 17:
        Newly elected Conservative Mayor of Bedford Tom Wootton has promised to "hold East West Rail to account" over the sale of homes along the route. Wootton, who won the election on May 7 after unseating his LibDem predecessor by 145 votes, centred his campaign on his opposition to EWR's 'northern route' to Cambridge, which was announced as the preferred one after the election []
    2. To cause (something) to be removed or replaced in its role; to displace, to overturn.
      Synonyms: oust, supersede, supplant
      Antonyms: confirm, preserve
      The Michelson-Morley experiment prompted scientists to unseat their belief in the luminiferous aether.
      Printed newspapers are gradually being unseated by digital publications.
    3. To upset the composure of (someone); to astound, to shock, to unsettle.
      Hyponyms: confound, discompose, disturb, unnerve, vex
      The Matrix (1999) utterly unseated audiences around the world with its mind-blowing plot twist.
      I was somewhat unseated by the strange noises outside my window.
      • 1897, John Bloundelle-Burton, The Clash Of Arms: A Romance, New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton and Company, page 49:
        "Heart up, heart up, my boy!" he exclaimed. "The horrors of war must not unseat a soldier thus"—but the other interrupted him, muttering huskily: / "You did not see—not recognise?" and as he spoke the astonishment on his face was accompanied by a look of almost awestruck unbelief.
      • 1925, H[oward] P[hilips] Lovecraft, “The Horror at Red Hook”, in The H. P. Lovecraft Collection, London: Arcturus Publishing, published 2016, →ISBN, page 266:
        Thereafter he held his peace, protesting not at all when it was generally agreed that the collapse of certain squalid brick houses in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn, and the consequent death of many brave officers, had unseated his nervous equilibrium.
      • 1935 February, “The Virtue of Carving”, in The Atlantic[12], Washington, D.C.: The Atlantic Monthly Group, →ISSN, →OCLC, archived from the original on 17 May 2023:
        No giant roast, no towering ham or sinewy wild fowl, can unseat an expert carver armed with a keen weapon.
      • 1937 January 8, Harry [S. Truman], edited by Robert Hugh Ferrell, Dear Bess: The Letters from Harry to Bess Truman, 1910-1959, New York, N.Y., London: W. W. Norton & Company, published 1983, →ISBN, →OCLC, page 392:
        Your telegram rather unseated me. I was under the impression that if I found a bargain in a place to stay, you would still come.
      • 1973, Emlyn Williams, Emlyn: An Early Autobiography, 1927–1935: [], London: The Bodley Head, →ISBN, page 91:
        Over the red wine, kindly, suddenly: 'Of course, you wrote it tongue-in-cheek, didn't you?' / From him, this unseated me. 'N-no, I didn't.'
      • 1995, Ann Zwinger, Downcanyon: A Naturalist Explores the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, Tucson, A.Z.: University of Arizona Press, →ISBN, page 237:
        Sensing the sincerity in the question and wanting to be courteous, but overwhelmed by trying to put the richness I had always been blessed with "down there" into quick words, I could only mumble something about yes, there's a beautiful river down there, although the question so unseated me I'm not sure what I said.
      • 2006, Stephen Wright, The Amalgamation Polka, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, →ISBN, page 89:
        Poor dear couldn't speak, could barely lift a finger. Utterly unseated he was.
      • 2008, Michael Wombacher, 11 Days at the Edge: One Man's Spiritual Journey into Evolutionary Enlightenment, Forres, Scotland: Findhorn Press, →ISBN, page 2:
        In this manner, I underwent a series of profound spiritual experiences that utterly unseated me and filled my consciousness with a dimension of knowledge I never knew existed.
      • 2010, Ruth Hamilton, Sugar and Spice, Sutton, Surrey: Severn House, →ISBN, page 216:
        But, as my psychiatrist says, when my ego and super ego kicked in, I became a balanced person. Until she unseated me repeatedly.
      • 2010, Jane Moore, Love Is on the Air, London: Century, →ISBN, page 247:
        I'm not making this easy for him, but I feel he's put me on the back foot by turning up at my workplace unannounced. Also, his appearance has undeniably unseated me, sending my mind into orbit about what's behind it.
      • 2011, John Nathan, A Bintel Brif: A Novel, Bloomington, Ind.: Xlibris, →ISBN, page 216:
        As a banker from a banking family with a tradition founded on trust and respectability that goes back three hundred years, I was unseated by her threats.
      • 2015, S[arah] D. Sykes, The Butcher Bird, London: Hodder & Stoughton, →ISBN, page 257:
        Now what was I supposed to say? She had completely unseated me.
      • 2015 March 3, Stephanie Taylor, Scout, Lulu.com, →ISBN, pages 68–69:
        Caitlin was suddenly all questions. Usually good at keeping her composure, she was completely unseated by this.
      • 2022 July 5, Carly Lane, “'Mr. Malcolm's List': Sope Dirisu on Reading Jane Austen as Research and Performing the Dance Scene”, in Collider[13], archived from the original on 2022-10-07:
        Ahead of the film's July 1 premiere, Collider had the opportunity to speak with [Sope] Dìrísù about starring in the Regency-era romance feature — he reprises his role from the short film that was made in 2019, also directed by [Emma Holly] Jones — and how he approached playing a character with a pragmatic approach to love who then finds himself thoroughly unseated by it by the end of the story.
      • 2022, Ndidi Otuya, Lead Me Back To You: A Fated Mate Werewolf Romance, Starlight, page 2:
        Leter her stare if she wanted, the gaze of a woman had never unseated me. Only I was sure this particular woman was about to change that.
      • 2023 January 19, David Canfield, “Inside ’’Eileen’’, a Gorgeously Strange Ottessa Moshfegh Adaptation”, in Radhika Jones, editor, Vanity Fair[14], New York, N.Y.: Condé Nast, →ISSN, →OCLC, archived from the original on 2023-02-02:
        "Thomasin [McKenzie] unseated me everyday[sic] with the depth of her talent," [Anne] Hathaway says. She and McKenzie got to know each other a bit before filming, establishing a dynamic which intriguingly mirrored the one we see in the movie.
  3. (intransitive, technical) To come off or out of a seat.
    We replaced the screws, since the old ones unseated too easily.
    • 1907, Straight Air Brakes; [], Scranton, P.A.: International Textbook Company, pages 50–51:
      When the feed-valve unseats, air begins to enter the train line and the black hand moves up; []
    • 1969, Guy F. Wetzel, Automotive Diagnosis and Tune-Up, 5th edition, Bloomington, I.L.: McKnight Publishing Company, →ISBN, page 399:
      When the pump plunger is moved upward, the flat on top of the cup unseats from the flat on the plunger head and allows free movement of fuel through the inside of the cup into the bottom of the pump well.
    • 1987, William McElroy, Painter's Handbook, Carlsbad, C.A.: Craftsman Book Company, →ISBN, →LCCN, page 250:
      Pull the trigger and the end or needle portion of a spring-loaded shaft unseats from an opening to allow liquid or air to pass through.
    • 2008, T. Jefferson Parker, L.A. Outlaws: A Novel, New York: Dutton, →ISBN, page 232:
      Using a screwdriver from the trunk of the Camaro, he opened the housing. The short screws unseated quickly and he set aside the lid.



Derived terms





  1. ^ Compare unseat, v.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2023; unseat, v.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.

Further reading