Definition of wobbly in English:



  • 1Tending to move unsteadily from side to side.

    ‘the car had a wobbly wheel’
    • ‘He did the odd bit of crime solving too of course but that always came a poor second to the mayhem he caused by moving a pen across a room in a wobbly way using only his cloak of invisibility, some strong thread and an intricate pulley system.’
    • ‘This is a New York institution, complete with supercilious staff, wobbly tables covered with red and white chequered tablecloths and walls lined with faded photos of prize fighters.’
    • ‘On the other hand, the arias, despite some dangerously unstable passages and wobbly intonation from the orchestra, were excellent.’
    • ‘There was a concrete floor and wobbly chairs.’
    • ‘Because no rifle - not even a match-tuned masterpiece of the gunsmith's art - can shoot off a rickety, wobbly bench.’
    • ‘One was moving very erratically, back and forth in a wobbly motion.’
    • ‘It took slow, wobbly steps, cantering to one side every time it stepped with its front left foot.’
    • ‘It got off to a shaky start, what with wobbly bridges and collapsing domes.’
    • ‘Most of the shots on Friday night were static, and when they weren't, they were wobbly.’
    • ‘More minor things also contribute, like pitted headsets, untrue wheels, wobbly tires and out-of-balance wheels.’
    • ‘It's only the e-commerce equivalent of an electronic shopping cart developing a wobbly wheel, so you can only make it turn left - just like a real shopping cart.’
    • ‘It would seem that my hands may have been a tad shaky, or the flooring in the old legion was wobbly, causing the pictures to be fuzzy.’
    • ‘Rico dribbled down the center not bothering to look up at his other teammates until Riley stole the ball from him, and threw a wobbly pass all the way down to the other side of the court.’
    • ‘You pack all your worldly goods into the car, travel to a muddy field, transfer all your worldly goods into a wobbly tin box on wheels and then sit and wait for the monsoon to begin.’
    • ‘Would you guys seriously consider putting bungees on say, the wobbly front wheel of your car?’
    • ‘Maybe you should re-spike your studs to your silt, because they were wobbly in the first place.’
    • ‘Carefully transfer to the oven and bake for about 50 minutes, until the centre is still wobbly but the edges set.’
    unsteady, unstable, shaky, rocky, rickety
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    1. 1.1(of a person) weak and unsteady from illness, tiredness, or anxiety.
      ‘she still felt a bit wobbly on her legs’
      • ‘We quickly moved to the front of the ragged pack, a dozen or so wobbly tourists and a few real riders.’
      • ‘‘But I was so wobbly that I had to have someone either side of me in case I fell,’ he said.’
      • ‘No wonder he is more wobbly after all that drink.’
      • ‘I started to feel very weak and wobbly and my legs gave way beneath me and I collapsed.’
      • ‘Her legs were slightly wobbly, but she guessed that was what she got for going to bed on nothing but medication and a martini.’
      • ‘The strange young man pulled himself unsteadily to his wobbly feet.’
      • ‘Miette finally pushed herself into a sitting position, still slightly wobbly.’
      • ‘The Penguin, as the short, wobbly man had become known to Danni and me on our walk, pushed us in and shut the door, leaving us with the military man.’
      • ‘Crying out in pain, Dawn broke free from the kiss and on wobbly legs moved away from Nikolas.’
      • ‘Owen snapped at the wobbly man, but the look on his face told everyone that he was enjoying getting Aidan back for what he had done.’
      • ‘He was still wobbly on his feet but they got there OK.’
      • ‘She was wobbly from her near drowning, but managed to stand after a few attempts.’
      • ‘Her dad followed her as quickly as he could and seemed to have slightly wobbly legs.’
      • ‘Of course, quit exercising if you're dizzy or nauseated, start sweating heavily, or feel so weak and wobbly that you can't maintain your form.’
      • ‘My head feels like someone set off a bomb in it, and I'm wobbly on my feet, but at least I don't feel sick.’
      • ‘‘On my third week of radiotherapy I had laryngitis and that left me feeling very weak and wobbly so I couldn't train then,’ she said.’
      • ‘I'll not have my best student coming back with a weak sword arm and wobbly legs.’
      • ‘I do love the wobbly men at the end of the Marathon.’
      • ‘But reach it they did; once again, Myoga held the door open for his wobbly guest, and Deuce stepped inside the lavish room.’
      • ‘The shorter girl was suddenly wobbly as they pulled on their coats and linked hands again.’
      • ‘I was wobbly and unsure of myself as I pushed down on the pedal, propelling the bike slowly forward.’
      • ‘I must have looked like I was totally drunk as I was very wobbly, and the quarter of an hour walk back from the train station seemed to take me hours.’
      • ‘I also like the prospect of being one of those wobbly men at the end of the race, who are extremely close to absolute exhaustion, but still manage to complete the task.’
      faint, dizzy, light-headed, giddy
      shaky, trembling, shaking, tremulous, quivering, quivery, doddery, unsteady
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    2. 1.2Uncertain, wavering, or insecure.
      ‘the evening got off to a wobbly start’
      • ‘But after a slightly wobbly start to the campaign, where the Blues' defence leaked in goals at an alarming rate, the ship has been steadied.’
      • ‘The system in this country is so insecure and so wobbly.’
      • ‘I think my Nokia problem stems from a wobbly disconnect that I attempted when I noticed someone had sent me a 2.5 MB attachment.’
      • ‘It was more along the lines of a very uncertain, wobbly romance that might fall apart at any second.’
      • ‘But even that, I want to show, is based upon some very wobbly figures.’
      • ‘In the first debate I thought he put on a solid performance while the president was wobbly.’
      • ‘Martin clearly had the most to lose in the debate, as in the election; under attack from all sides and able to rely only on his wits, wobbly as they seem to be, he performed about as well as might have been expected.’
      • ‘He's not wobbly, he never wavers, he never straddles the line between two sides.’
    3. 1.3(of a person or voice) tending to move out of tone or slightly vary in pitch.
      ‘a wobbly soprano’
      • ‘Charlotte Church shot to fame as the little schoolgirl with the big wobbly voice.’
      • ‘A small, wobbly voice cut through the comforting blackness and oblivion, just audible above the constant hiss of the waves breaking on the slimy, moss-covered stone outside.’
      • ‘His deep, strong southern voice was getting wobbly, and his eyes welled as the realization of his firing a few weeks earlier sunk in.’
      • ‘I hoped he hadn't noticed how wobbly my voice was.’
      • ‘Between their thick and wobbly tones and my horrible drawl, it's been a struggle.’
      • ‘‘I'm a princess,’ she said in a wobbly voice before putting her thumb in her mouth.’
      • ‘The little girl's voice was wobbly as she cried.’
      • ‘Again, her pitch was very wobbly and she was trying way too hard to trill it.’
      • ‘The voice was wobbly and anxious and seemed to be issuing from the coatroom in the corner of the grand sitting room.’
      • ‘Her voice is squeaky and wobbly, the voice of a dithering matron, not a singer; her timing is distracted and irregular.’
      • ‘The voice in my head is wobbly and hesitant but it seems to echo slightly as I freeze in utter astonishment.’
      • ‘His voice was wobbly when he spoke, and he was barely able to form the words on his tongue.’
      • ‘Her voice was wobbly and shaky, she sniffed a bit and changed how she sat again.’
      • ‘He raised his wobbly voice and began talking in tangents about why he wrote the article.’
      • ‘In Dragoni's first big scene she was wobbly, her voice broke, she tried singing lower, and crumbled on every big note.’
      • ‘‘Please,’ she begged, and her voice was wobbly and high, as if she was struggling not to cry.’
      • ‘Alexander Tekeliev's bass was a good clear voice, on the light side, but a welcome distance from the thick wobbly basses who manage to hit every and no note with their vast spongy vibratos.’
      • ‘This British musical certainly holds its own against Hollywood rivals of the same era, although the chorus lines tend to be slightly wobbly.’
    4. 1.4(of a line or handwriting) not straight or regular.
      • ‘They had each marked their individual affidavits with a wobbly cross, for few can write their names.’
      • ‘The letters were black felt-tip, scrawled across the paper in giant wobbly letters.’
      • ‘Grace and Vahn the title said, in Ellie's large, wobbly handwriting.’
      • ‘I noticed that she neglected to sign it, and her handwriting was rather wobbly and etchy, as if her hand was shaking when she wrote it.’
      • ‘Lustig added that the writing was wobbly, so she gave high praise to the Issaquah mail-sorting system.’
      • ‘Being short, as I was, the six lines of wobbly nonsense which I'd managed to scrawl were about two and a half feet off the floor, but what they lacked in visibility, they made up for in determination.’


  • 1[in singular] A fit of temper or panic.

    ‘my daughter threw a wobbly when I wouldn't let her play’
    • ‘Take this one insurance company, for example, which last week threw a wobbly over the £2m pay-off for, former British Airways boss.’
    • ‘Then for some reason my PC decided to throw a wobbly.’
    • ‘Gloria is liable to throw a wobbly at the mere mention of ‘four eyes’.’
    • ‘And when my grand-children cluster round me and ask what it was like when he threw a wobbly on a daytime chatshow, what a story I will have to tell.’
    • ‘It helps to pass away those long hours stuck on a plane or stuck in some foreign airport due to traffic controllers throwing a wobbly.’
    • ‘It's reassuring, in a way, when these technological things throw a wobbly.’
    • ‘If the Prime Minister said that he would like darts to become a recognised sport, would the Minister for Sport and Tourism throw a wobbly?’
    • ‘I had a fight with Josh, and threw a wobbly with everyone else to get my own way.’
    fit of temper, fit of rage, fit of pique, fit, outburst, flare-up, blow-up, pet, paroxysm, frenzy, bad mood, mood, huff, scene
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    1. 1.1A fit of panic.
      ‘the driver was having an attack of the wobblies’