Definition of unbalance in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Make (someone or something) unsteady so that they tip or fall.

    • ‘‘We couldn't get out because that would have unbalanced the car,’ she recalls.’
    • ‘I did try to help by folding his knees under him, but all that did was unbalance him and he ended up bopping the carpet with his nose… oops.’
    • ‘The force of the blow unbalances him, and he falls backwards onto the ground.’
    • ‘The opponent's leg can also be lifted to unbalance or to throw the opponent backward.’
    • ‘My foot seemed to slide and I was unbalanced by my shopping and unable to right myself with my hands.’
    • ‘Following through, the sudden change in inertia and momentum unbalanced her, and she fell on the bed, then to the floor.’
    • ‘A high-ranking shihan commits a slight error of timing during his performance and fails to unbalance or even touch his uke.’
    • ‘The technique, known as galvanic vestibular stimulation, unbalances a person so that they automatically veer left or right in an attempt to rebalance themselves.’
    • ‘If you have moved to the side of the opponent you can spin, throw, trip, take down, unbalance or control him, or just continue your attack from this position of advantage.’
    • ‘The sudden weight unbalanced me and I fell face first onto the floor.’
    • ‘I managed to wiggle underneath them all, dislodging those on the very top by unbalancing the unsteady column.’
    unstable, rocky, wobbly, wobbling, rickety, shaky, shaking, tottery, tottering, teetering, unsafe, unbalanced, unreliable, insecure, not secure, unfastened, unsecured, movable, precarious
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    1. 1.1 Upset or disturb the equilibrium of (a state of affairs or someone's state of mind)
      ‘this sharing can often unbalance even the closest of relationships’
      • ‘The latter scene is great drama but seems just slightly too strong for the film, it unbalances what had until that point been a perfectly constructed piece.’
      • ‘Hanks' fatal miscasting and timid performance unbalances a film that is already too careful to thrill.’
      • ‘My concentration levels had unbalanced the chemistry in my brain to the point that I was borderline hallucinating and convinced I was somehow telepathically influencing my opponent.’
      • ‘So, unbalancing her in one direction are forces of self-disgust and disillusion.’
      • ‘During this time Hanover lost their influential midfielder Sean Kavanagh through injury and this had the effect of temporarily unbalancing their midfield sector.’
      • ‘His threat to allow judges to reveal previous convictions of an accused to a jury in limited circumstances would rip the blindfold off Lady Justice and unbalance her already precariously tipping scales.’
      • ‘Sugar unbalances the endocrine system, which includes the adrenal glands, pancreas and liver, causing the blood-sugar level to fluctuate widely.’
      • ‘Those around him worry that her death has unbalanced him, though his narrative voice is sane, if eccentric.’
      • ‘Does this also mean that it was also very tightly written, that there was nothing you could cut out without unbalancing everything?’
      • ‘But Depp upstages everyone, getting big laughs every time he comes on - funnier even than his excellent turn in Pirates of the Caribbean - and unbalancing the movie.’
      • ‘Some of the younger actors from above stairs fail to make an impact which slightly unbalances the cast.’
      • ‘Somewhat incongruously, and much to Plater's displeasure, for financing reasons the serial was divided into seven parts rather six, which inevitably unbalances the symmetry of the story.’
      • ‘And this, one could argue, slightly unbalances the film - all of the Palestinians are civilians and all the Israelis are in uniform.’
      • ‘I've said it more than once: recent world events have unbalanced the judgement of a lot of people of the well-meaning, right-thinking classes.’
      • ‘It would also have been wiser if Lee, playing an unconvincing television reporter, had refrained from appearing in the movie himself as his highly recognisable presence unbalances proceedings a little.’
      • ‘Mac could not help feeling that Staten had taken the view that the state of his mind had been unbalanced by recent events.’
      • ‘Spiralling property prices have unbalanced local economies, while small communities have suffered the closure of schools, post offices, shops and petrol stations.’
      • ‘The repressed laughter, the panic, the forced coughing and the exasperation of listening to Sava's story for the second time must have unbalanced his delicate liver functions.’
      unstable, of unsound mind, mentally ill, deranged, demented, crazed, troubled, disturbed, unhinged, insane, mad, mad as a hatter, mad as a march hare, raving mad, out of one's mind, not in one's right mind, neurotic, psychotic
      View synonyms


  • A lack of symmetry, balance, or stability.

    • ‘We have identified the psychosomatic traits in modern medicine linked to the reversible unbalance of qi, blood, and body fluid in ill-health.’
    • ‘Meygan was laughing so hard she would have shaken the ladder to the point of unbalance if it weren't for Rachel and Nikki holding her steady.’
    • ‘And it's a very systematic strategy, which keeps people in a situation of fear and emotional unbalance, in not really knowing what to expect.’
    • ‘But I refer to the teachings - and the unbalance this has caused in our lives - the focus I cannot maintain and still be an official.’
    • ‘The analysis was repeated by controlling for surgical treatment and stage at diagnosis to assess whether the effect of ethnicity on lung cancer survival persisted after adjusting for unbalances in these factors.’
    • ‘In this model, the added unbalance induces a positive correlation between the expected family value and corresponding family size.’
    • ‘Someone I won't get defensive with, because getting defensive is a sign of unbalance for me.’
    • ‘Yes I am, but even so my powers are still very weak and they will not improve until this unbalance is lifted.’
    • ‘The slight unbalance and distraction (here a loud shout or kiai could also be added) weakens the grab, something that facilitates forcing your arms upwards.’
    • ‘The accumulation of wealth in the western society and no children of homosexuals to inherit them will cause an unbalance someday.’
    • ‘Doctors studied a patient's urine to detect if there was any unbalance.’
    • ‘When motion occurs, the situation is dynamic and an unbalance of forces is present.’
    • ‘However, any alteration in one, two or in all of these may cause unbalance of the organ itself and a significant, noticeable, aesthetic disturbance to the whole face.’
    • ‘This is a couple of country miles from the way mental unbalance is delicately suggested by Henry James.’
    • ‘An unbalance in the proportions of these humors was believed to be the cause of ill health.’
    • ‘He broke from the gate rather hard on his front feet, causing unbalance on his part.’
    • ‘No matter how it's played, though, Rabbit Run exists in a very compelling state of continual unbalance.’
    • ‘I stepped away from the railing and peered up at him, trying to convey my unbalance and confusion about everything that had happened between us.’
    • ‘The dizzying concoction of living in a moment that feels right or wrong and then being thrust ‘forward’ to the source of the decision that created that moment leaves the viewer in a constant state of unbalance.’
    • ‘But we had a lot of grip with the car and a little bit of an unbalance.’