Definition of wobble in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈwɒb(ə)l/


1Move or cause to move unsteadily from side to side: [no object]: the table wobbles where the leg is too short [with object]: enthusiastic thumping may wobble the lectern
More example sentences
  • He pushed to the side, legs wobbling, and his hands found the door.
  • It then started wobbling from side to side and he became frightened.
  • My legs wobbled slightly, just adjusting to the floor beneath my feet.
rock, move unsteadily, jiggle, sway, see-saw, teeter;
shake, vibrate
1.1 [no object, with adverbial of direction] Move unsteadily in a particular direction: they wobble around on their bikes
More example sentences
  • But it's wobbling in the direction of the same package leisure industry which gave us the gym.
  • The little animal then staggered, wobbled and limped around for a few seconds before turning for the last time to his rescuers and wandering off back into nature.
  • I walked straight up towards Brandon, who wobbled down the hall in the opposite direction.
teeter, totter, stagger, walk unsteadily, lurch
1.2 [no object] (Of the voice) vary slightly in pitch; quaver: her voice wobbled dangerously, but she brought it under control
More example sentences
  • ‘You cannot harm us,’ said the priestess of Elle, though her hands shook and her voice wobbled as well.
  • She met his eyes, her voice wobbled and she was shaking.
  • So we're given the impression of Connor's leg shaking and his voice wobbling.
tremble, shake, quiver, quaver, waver
rare quave
1.3 [no object] Waver between different courses of action; vacillate: he is beginning to wobble on the issue
More example sentences
  • He has wavered, wobbled, and wiggled about the war since it began.
  • It is therefore odd to watch him waver and wobble over an issue that is not only outrageously unjust, but also flagrantly illegal.
waver, hesitate, vacillate, dither, shilly-shally, be undecided, be uncertain, be indecisive, be unable to make up one's mind, keep changing one's mind, yo-yo;
Scottish  swither
informal blow hot and cold


1An unsteady movement from side to side: the handlebars developed a wobble
More example sentences
  • Milutin M. Milankovich, a Serbian mathematician, developed the idea that the Earth's rotational wobbles and orbital deviations have combined to affect in a cyclic way global climatic changes.
  • Georgia, which placed third last year, had a few wobbles on balance beam in the final rotation but held on to second place.
  • It was built on the track of an elephant trail and it was so rough that it rattled our bones and sent the radio antenna into a series of harmonic wobbles.
unsteady movement, totter, teeter, sway;
rocking, swaying, shaking
1.1A variation of pitch in the voice: a caricature of the operatic wobble
More example sentences
  • The high notes are no longer there, everything below mezzo-forte is weak, and the stability of the voice betrayed by occasional wobbles.
  • Far more troubling is the fearsome wobble in her voice that she only occasionally brings under control.
  • With a slight wobble in his voice, he said his prostate cancer had spread to other parts of his body.
tremor, quiver, quaver, shaking, trembling
technical vibrato
1.2A moment of indecision or instability: the only serious wobble of the campaign
More example sentences
  • It's cheering to find that Cole & Son, maker of wallpaper and paint since 1873, is not only back in business after a serious wobble in the late 1990s but is working flat out to meet demand.
  • These normally nuanced characters briefly became vessels for issue-based polemic rather than wry, subtle dialogue - and even to unequivocal admirers, this is a serious wobble.
  • It has to be said that the wobbles have abated considerably over the past two weeks.


Mid 17th century (earlier as wabble): of Germanic origin; compare with Old Norse vafla 'waver'; related to the verb wave.

  • A German word first used in English in the mid 17th century. Wobble is related to wave (Old English) and waver (Middle English) which come from Old Norse, and until the mid 19th century was generally spelled wabble. To throw a wobbly is to have a fit of temper or panic. This is a recent expression recorded only from the 1960s, first of all in New Zealand, although throw a wobbler appears in the 1930s, in a US dictionary of underworld and prison slang. Wave did not come to be used for hair until the mid 19th century and the expression to make waves dates only from the 1960s. Mexican wave describing a wavelike effect when spectators stand, raise their arms, and sit again in successive crowd sections, originated at the World Cup football competition held in Mexico City in 1986.

Words that rhyme with wobble

bobble, Chernobyl, cobble, gobble, hobble, knobble, nobble, squabble

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: wob¦ble

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