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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.


unsteady ‎(comparative unsteadier, superlative unsteadiest)

  1. Not held firmly in position, physically unstable.
    A slightly unsteady item of furniture.
    • 1907, Robert W. Chambers, chapter IV, The Younger Set:
      "Mid-Lent, and the Enemy grins," remarked Selwyn as he started for church with Nina and the children. Austin, knee-deep in a dozen Sunday supplements, refused to stir; poor little Eileen was now convalescent from grippe, but still unsteady on her legs; her maid had taken the grippe, and now moaned all day: []"
  2. Noted for lack of regularity or uniformity.
  3. Inconstant in purpose, or volatile in behavior.




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unsteady ‎(third-person singular simple present unsteadies, present participle unsteadying, simple past and past participle unsteadied)

  1. To render unsteady, removing balance.