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Related to unsteadinesses: lightheadedness


adj. un·stead·i·er, un·stead·i·est
1. Not firm, solid, or securely in place; unstable.
2. Fluctuating; changeable: an unsteady market.
3. Not even or regular; wavering: an unsteady voice.
tr.v. un·stead·ied, un·stead·y·ing, un·stead·ies
To cause to become unsteady.

un·stead′i·ly adv.
un·stead′i·ness n.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.




  1. Flounder around like a fish on the beach —Anon

    A commonly used variation: “Flounder around like a beached whale.”

  2. Floundered like a waterlogged ship —James Hilton
  3. Floundered like insects in yogurt —George F. Will, about those involved in Watergate crimes
  4. Floundering like someone running in deep sand, blind without glasses, burdened with books —George Garrett
  5. Flounder like a compass that’s lost its needle —Anon

    A variation: “Flounder like a windup watch without a dial.”

  6. (Was solidly built but) gave the impression of not being very stable, like a building with imperfect foundations —MacDonald Harris
  7. Reel like a leaf that’s drawn to a water-wheel —Dante Gabriel Rossetti
  8. Stagger like a drunken man —The Holy Bible/The Psalms
  9. Staggers slightly … like a carnival clown —Hilary Masters
  10. Staggers to his feet like a battered middleweight coming out for the fifteenth round —T. Coraghessan Boyle
  11. Stumbled … like an old woman leaning on a cane that wasn’t there —Ross Macdonald
  12. Stumbled like fat sheep —Stephen Crane
  13. Stumbling a little over his own feet like an adolescent not accustomed to his new growth —Margaret Millar
  14. Tumbling … like a moth blinded by sudden brightness —Jerzy Kosinski
  15. Unconstant as the wind; as wavering as the weathercock —William Walker
  16. Unstable as water —The Holy Bible/Genesis
  17. (She seemed volatile right now,) unstable, like a vial of nitroglycerin —Sue Grafton
  18. Unsteady like a pole balanced on the tip of one’s finger —Arthur Schopenhauer
  19. Wavering as the wind —John Heywood’s Proverbs

    Modernized from the Old English: “Waueryng as the wynde.”

  20. Wobbled like an overfed penguin —Len Deighton
  21. (His new English) wobbles like a first bicycle —Diane Ackerman
Similes Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1988 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.unsteadiness - the quality of not being steady or securely fixed in placeunsteadiness - the quality of not being steady or securely fixed in place
movability, movableness - the quality of being movable; capable of being moved or rearranged
steadiness, firmness - the quality of being steady or securely and immovably fixed in place
2.unsteadiness - the quality of being unsteady--varying and unpredictableunsteadiness - the quality of being unsteady--varying and unpredictable
unregularity, irregularity - not characterized by a fixed principle or rate; at irregular intervals
unstableness, instability - the quality or attribute of being unstable and irresolute
steadiness - the quality of being steady--regular and unvarying
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


1. The quality or condition of being physically unsteady:
2. The quality or condition of being erratic and undependable:
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


[ˈʌnˈstedɪnɪs] N [of chair, ladder, structure] → inestabilidad f, inseguridad f; [of sb's steps, walk] → lo vacilante, inseguridad f; [of voice, hand] → temblor m
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


n (of hand, legs, steps)Unsicherheit f; (of ladder)Wack(e)ligkeit f; (of flame)Flackern nt; (of voice, economy)Schwanken nt; (of progress)Ungleichmäßigkeit f; (of growth)Unregelmäßigkeit f
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007