Definition of unstable in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ʌnˈsteɪb(ə)l/

adjective (unstabler, unstablest)

1Likely to give way; not stable: the unstable cliff tops
More example sentences
  • The choice of operation depends on how large the protrusion is, how many nerves are involved and how stable or unstable the spine is.
  • Calm funded the project to avoid safety worries over unstable cliff faces and walking trails.
  • Unfortunately, there are not enough of the biggest bricks which means that the cross section of the tower is only one lego element wide at the top and very unstable.
unsteady, rocky, wobbly, wobbling, rickety, shaky, tottery, tottering, teetering, doddery, unsafe, unbalanced, unreliable, insecure, not secure, unfastened, unsecured, movable, precarious;
Irish  bockety
1.1Likely to change or fail; not firmly established: an unstable government
More example sentences
  • However, you could be forgiven for thinking that the future for competitive operators looks highly uncertain and unstable.
  • Throughout the 1990s, politics were extremely unstable, with frequent changes of government.
  • It is a very unstable region, where changes can occur brutally.
1.2Prone to psychiatric problems or sudden changes of mood: he was mentally unstable
More example sentences
  • So I didn't want to open the door to the mental hospital, but I was forced to because of her unstable state.
  • The diagnosis is that of an emotionally unstable borderline personality disorder.
  • The ruling affected the treatment of mentally unstable prisoners during trials.



Example sentences
  • The highly accomplished actress gets some details right, but the overarching mental unstableness she exudes is so excessive as to make one wonder whether she is playing or being unhinged.
  • Her mental unstableness is too hard for her to cope with.
  • Her mother and father snub her off completely overlooking her serious unstableness.


Example sentences
  • Deciding that a cold shower would be a much saner solution, he disentangled himself from his blanket and walked unstably towards the bathroom, all the while trying to remember what exactly happened that led him to this position.
  • Forty-five percent were homeless or unstably domiciled, over three-fourths were living as single, and 89% were unemployed.
  • Her knees shook unstably, and she headed towards the chair.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: un|stable

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.