Definition of off-kilter in US English:


adjective & adverb

  • 1Not in the usual, expected, or correct condition or state.

    as adjective ‘the economy is off-kilter’
    as adverb ‘the songs are thrown off-kilter by Wilson's guileless lyrics’
    • ‘It is an off-kilter pay scale that compensates inexperienced teachers as much as, if not more than, applicants with advanced degrees in education.’
    • ‘I'm beginning to wonder how much the vice president's activism has thrown the agency process completely off-kilter.’
    • ‘The color balance is off-kilter something fierce, veering heavily toward the red pole of the spectrum.’
    • ‘The woman does seem rather emotionally off-kilter, and it may not be good for the young man to see her, but that does seem to be much more of a call for him and her rather than for the judge.’
    • ‘On a second or third look you notice that the colours don't quite line up with what the images are supposed to be, the colours too dark, off-kilter or perhaps just flat out wrong.’
    • ‘Sometimes you don't mind a talky cab driver, but I felt off-kilter and contemplative after my stroll so it was perfect.’
    • ‘If the balances of Mariam seem slightly off-kilter by present-day aesthetic standards, they nonetheless reflect the genuine intellectual concerns of its author and her potential audience.’
    • ‘It was only three weeks since he'd seen her and he was still feeling off-kilter, like the world had tilted backwards and he couldn't find his balance.’
    • ‘And this is a woman who champions the fashionable mantra of work-life balance; evidently something is off-kilter.’
    • ‘While this yaw may cause a kayaker to feel off-kilter, a boat designed to turn less easily would be more suited to carrying freight.’
    • ‘I'm also stressed and exhausted - it's taken removing me from the city, from my pattern of life, to realise just how knackered, off-kilter and out-of-sorts I have become recently.’
    • ‘I will keep my body inside the metal triangle that extends down from the wing; should I stray beyond it, my weight could throw us horribly off-kilter.’
    • ‘It's worth a read, but there is one off-kilter point.’
    1. 1.1as adjective Unconventional or eccentric.
      ‘an off-kilter comedy’
      • ‘They bring life to themes of solitude and enclosure with humour as clowns, acrobats, jugglers, dancers and off-kilter trampolinists.’
      • ‘In his 1980 film, the actor is widely regarded to have given one of his most manic performances, in a career packed with off-kilter roles.’
      • ‘Kauffman scripts tend to have a sharp, off-kilter sense of humor, a probing willingness to deal with outlandish concepts, and a solid grounding in the human heart.’
      • ‘The band has attracted national attention with its off-kilter performances and unconventional choice of instruments.’
      • ‘They were soon snapped up by a slightly baffled EMI in the post-punk goldrush, but they were always going to be too politically abrasive and musically off-kilter for mainstream assimilation.’
      • ‘The is one of those unusual, off-kilter ensemble films, featuring a diverse group of characters who veer off in different directions as they head down the same highway.’
      • ‘Between the three of them, they cover most of the ground available in pop music - pop-rock melodics, ambient soundscaping and funky if off-kilter club noise.’
      • ‘And in September readers will get a chance to explore the off-kilter aspects of the other 49 states when the book Weird U.S. hits stores.’
      • ‘The music is very unique too, full of off-kilter, obscure instruments, giving the album an dreamy old-fashioned vibe, which works whether the songs are gentle or menacing.’
      • ‘The beauty of the band is their counterintuitive knack for balancing off-kilter musicianship with catchy hooks and chugging beats.’
      • ‘To balance the off-kilter timeline and the over the top story, the sets, locations, and even the methods of shooting are often copies of something done in another film.’
      • ‘That way, the news section will truly match the rest of the paper - off-kilter but relevant subject matter, dealt with in a professional and compulsively readable manner.’
      • ‘The good news this week is that the Cinémathèque is screening an utterly exquisite anthology of off-kilter animated shorts from around the world.’
      • ‘With their unique push of modulated, off-kilter, minimal disco funk, it's no wonder these guys are being called the most powerful pair since the Olsen Twins.’
      • ‘A selection of the best of the ‘alternative media’, it offers a slightly off-kilter view of life in what surely must be one of the most insane superpowers.’


1920s: from off + kilter.