What does unstable mean?

Definitions for unstable
ʌnˈsteɪ bəlun·sta·ble

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word unstable.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. unstableadjective

    lacking stability or fixity or firmness

    "unstable political conditions"; "the tower proved to be unstable in the high wind"; "an unstable world economy"

  2. unstableadjective

    highly or violently reactive

    "sensitive and highly unstable compounds"

  3. precarious, unstableadjective

    affording no ease or reassurance

    "a precarious truce"

  4. mentally ill, unsound, unstableadjective

    suffering from severe mental illness

    "of unsound mind"

  5. unstableadjective

    disposed to psychological variability

    "his rather unstable religious convictions"

  6. fluid, unstableadjective

    subject to change; variable

    "a fluid situation fraught with uncertainty"; "everything was unstable following the coup"


  1. unstableadjective

    having a strong tendency to change

  2. unstableadjective

    fluctuating; not constant

  3. unstableadjective


  4. unstableadjective


  5. unstableadjective

    Readily decompasable

  6. unstableadjective

    Radioactive, especially with a short half-life

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Unstableadjective

    Etymology: instabilis, Lat.

    Where gentry, title, wisdom,
    Cannot conclude by the yea and no
    Of gen’ral ignorance, it must omit
    Real necessities, and give way the while
    T’ unstable slightness. William Shakespeare, Coriolanus.

    A popular state not founded on the general interests of the people, is of all others the most uncertain, unstable, and subject to the most easy changes. William Temple.

    Thus air was void of light, and earth unstable. Dryden.

    See harness’d steeds desert the stony town,
    And wander roads unstable, not their own. John Gay.

    A double-minded man is unstable. James i. 8.


  1. unstable

    In dynamical systems instability means that some of the outputs or internal states increase with time, without bounds. Not all systems that are not stable are unstable; systems can also be marginally stable or exhibit limit cycle behavior. In structural engineering, a structural beam or column can become unstable when excessive compressive load is applied. Beyond a certain threshold, structural deflections magnify stresses, which in turn increases deflections. This can take the form of buckling or crippling. The general field of study is called structural stability. Atmospheric instability is a major component of all weather systems on Earth.


  1. unstable

    Unstable refers to a state or condition that is not fixed, firm or steady, prone to change, fail or collapse, or lacks determination or emotional steadiness. This term can be used to describe various situations, substances, physical or psychological conditions, or systems that are susceptible to erratic behavior or sudden changes.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Unstableadjective

    not stable; not firm, fixed, or constant; subject to change or overthrow


  1. Unstable

    Unstable is Adema's second and also final album to feature its original lineup with Chavez and Ransom departing from the band after its release and then again after their reunion. It was released on August 12, 2003. It has sold about 400,000 copies worldwide. Its radio single was the self-titled song "Unstable", which also had a music video, but it didn't get very much radio play. Many songs relied more on instrumentation and harmony instead of distortion in comparison to their previous album, but the album also has some of the band's most aggressive work. It was less successful than their first album, debuting at number 43 on the Billboard 200 before quickly falling off the chart.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Unstable

    un-stā′bl, adj. not stable, unreliable, infirm, inconstant: in such a physical state that the slightest change induces further change of form or composition.—ns. Unstabil′ity, Unstā′bleness.

How to pronounce unstable?

How to say unstable in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of unstable in Chaldean Numerology is: 2

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of unstable in Pythagorean Numerology is: 4

Examples of unstable in a Sentence

  1. Marc Eckstein:

    One of our biggest challenges right now is getting our ambulances out of the emergency department, when our paramedics and EMTs transport a patient to an emergency department, there's a transfer of care that has to take place. Patients who are unstable or unable to be safely transferred to the waiting room or to a chair need a bed in the emergency department to be transferred to. And those beds are lacking right now.

  2. Herodotus:

    If a man insisted always on being serious, and never allowed himself a bit of fun and relaxation, he would go mad or become unstable without knowing it.

  3. Councilman Mark Levine:

    We are receiving about 100,000 doses every week in a city where 2.5 million people are eligible, and even that low number has been unstable and unreliable, we are so far behind the pace we need to be vaccinating at.

  4. Elizabeth Clay:

    There's slashings. There's shootings, my last email to the mayor's office was that, amongst other things, we just had a massacre in Texas, an unstable man who was ignored, but it's not like people didn't know he was unstable. We have a park of mentally unstable people currently slashing and shooting each other. What would make us think this wouldn't turn into something much more tragic ?

  5. Michael Pregent:

    If you simply allow the Shiite Muslim political parties, the 60 % population of Iraq, to form a government, Shiite Muslim parties will continue to have an unstable northern Iraq where threats are incubated.

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Translations for unstable

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"unstable." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 29 May 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/unstable>.

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    (of especially persons) lacking sense or understanding or judgment
    A urban
    B dangerous
    C whirring
    D witless

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