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


  • IPA(key): /ʌnˈstɛdi/
  • Rhymes: -ɛdi
  • Hyphenation: un‧steady


unsteady (comparative unsteadier, superlative unsteadiest)

  1. Not held firmly in position, physically unstable.
    A slightly unsteady item of furniture.
    • 1907, Robert William Chambers, chapter IV, in The Younger Set, New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, OCLC 24962326:
      "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. Lacking regularity or uniformity.
  3. Inconstant in purpose, or volatile in behavior.




The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


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

  1. To render unsteady, removing balance.