- Stagger is defined as to move or stand unsteadily, to hesitate or to waver.
- An example of stagger is a very drunk person walking across the room.
- An example of stagger is a woman losing her nerve just before asking a man out on a date.
- to move unsteadily, as though about to collapse; totter, sway, or reel, as from a blow, fatigue, drunkenness, etc.
- to lose determination, strength of purpose, etc.; hesitate; waver
Origin: Middle English stakeren from Old Norse stakra, to totter, intensive of staka, to push (for Indo-European base see stake): akin to and amp; probably influenced, influence inch(es) form by Middle Dutch staggeren
- to cause to stagger, as with a blow
- to affect strongly with astonishment, horror, grief, etc.; overwhelm
- to set, arrange, or incline alternately, as on either side of a line; make zigzag or alternating: to stagger the teeth of a saw
- to arrange (periods of activity, duties, etc.) so as to avoid crowding: to stagger employees' vacations
- Aeron. to set or arrange (airfoils, rotors, etc.) so that one is slightly ahead of another
- the act of staggering, or reeling, tottering, etc.
- a staggered or zigzag arrangement
- any of several diseases or toxic conditions of horses, cattle, etc., characterized by a loss of coordination, and by staggering, falling, etc.: often with the
- staggerer noun
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
verb stag·gered, stag·ger·ing, stag·gers verb, intransitive
- To move or stand unsteadily, as if under a great weight; totter.
- To begin to lose confidence or strength of purpose; waver.
- To cause to totter, sway, or reel: The blow staggered him.
- a. To overwhelm with emotion or astonishment.b. To cause to waver or lose confidence.
- To place on or as if on alternating sides of a center line; set in a zigzag row or rows: theater seats that were staggered for clear viewing.
- To arrange in alternating or overlapping time periods: staggered the nurses' shifts.
- To arrange (the wings of a biplane) so that the leading edge of one wing is either ahead of or behind the leading edge of the other wing.
- Sports To arrange (the start of a race) with the starting point in the outside lanes progressively closer to the finish line so as to neutralize the advantage of competing in the shorter inside lanes.
- A tottering, swaying, or reeling motion.
- A staggered pattern, arrangement, or order.
- staggers (used with a sing. verb) Any of various diseases of the nervous system in animals, especially horses, cattle, or other domestic animals, characterized by a lack of coordination in moving, a staggering gait, and frequent falling. Also called blind staggers.
Origin: Alteration of Middle English stakeren, from Old Norse stakra, frequentative of staka, to push.
- stagˈger·er noun
- stagˈger·y adjective