Definition of kilter in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkɪltə/


(in phrase out of kilter)
Out of harmony or balance: daylight saving throws everybody’s body clock out of kilter
More example sentences
  • House of Lords reform is up for debate next year, council elections need reform, the balance of power is out of kilter, but it's all hotch-potch and hand-to-mouth.
  • But when the two banks amalgamated, it threw the whole religious balance out of kilter.
  • The numbers are out of kilter and the balance is wrong.
awry, off balance, unbalanced, out of order, not in working order, disordered, confused, disorderly, disorganized, muddled, in poor shape;
disharmonious, discordant, out of tune, out of step


Early 17th century: of unknown origin.

  • The word kilter, meaning ‘good condition or order’, emerges in English dialect use in the 17th century, and is recorded in areas from Northumberland to Cornwall. It survives in mainstream language only in the phrase out of kilter, meaning ‘out of balance’.

Words that rhyme with kilter

filter, philtre (US philter), quilter, tilter

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: kil¦ter

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