Definition of wobbly in English:



  • 1Tending to move unsteadily from side to side.

    ‘the car had a wobbly wheel’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It took slow, wobbly steps, cantering to one side every time it stepped with its front left foot.’
    • ‘There was a concrete floor and wobbly chairs.’
    • ‘It got off to a shaky start, what with wobbly bridges and collapsing domes.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘More minor things also contribute, like pitted headsets, untrue wheels, wobbly tires and out-of-balance wheels.’
    • ‘Carefully transfer to the oven and bake for about 50 minutes, until the centre is still wobbly but the edges set.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Most of the shots on Friday night were static, and when they weren't, they were wobbly.’
    • ‘On the other hand, the arias, despite some dangerously unstable passages and wobbly intonation from the orchestra, were excellent.’
    • ‘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.’
    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’
      • ‘He was still wobbly on his feet but they got there OK.’
      • ‘Her dad followed her as quickly as he could and seemed to have slightly wobbly legs.’
      • ‘But reach it they did; once again, Myoga held the door open for his wobbly guest, and Deuce stepped inside the lavish room.’
      • ‘‘But I was so wobbly that I had to have someone either side of me in case I fell,’ he said.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The strange young man pulled himself unsteadily to his wobbly feet.’
      • ‘Her legs were slightly wobbly, but she guessed that was what she got for going to bed on nothing but medication and a martini.’
      • ‘‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Crying out in pain, Dawn broke free from the kiss and on wobbly legs moved away from Nikolas.’
      • ‘The shorter girl was suddenly wobbly as they pulled on their coats and linked hands again.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I was wobbly and unsure of myself as I pushed down on the pedal, propelling the bike slowly forward.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Miette finally pushed herself into a sitting position, still slightly wobbly.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We quickly moved to the front of the ragged pack, a dozen or so wobbly tourists and a few real riders.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She was wobbly from her near drowning, but managed to stand after a few attempts.’
      shaky, trembling, shaking, tremulous, quivering, quivery, doddery, unsteady
      faint, dizzy, light-headed, giddy
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    2. 1.2 Uncertain, wavering, or insecure.
      ‘the evening got off to a wobbly start’
      • ‘But even that, I want to show, is based upon some very wobbly figures.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He's not wobbly, he never wavers, he never straddles the line between two sides.’
      • ‘In the first debate I thought he put on a solid performance while the president was wobbly.’
    3. 1.3 (of a person or voice) tending to move out of tone or slightly vary in pitch.
      ‘a wobbly soprano’
      • ‘Her voice is squeaky and wobbly, the voice of a dithering matron, not a singer; her timing is distracted and irregular.’
      • ‘‘Please,’ she begged, and her voice was wobbly and high, as if she was struggling not to cry.’
      • ‘His deep, strong southern voice was getting wobbly, and his eyes welled as the realization of his firing a few weeks earlier sunk in.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The little girl's voice was wobbly as she cried.’
      • ‘‘I'm a princess,’ she said in a wobbly voice before putting her thumb in her mouth.’
      • ‘The voice in my head is wobbly and hesitant but it seems to echo slightly as I freeze in utter astonishment.’
      • ‘Again, her pitch was very wobbly and she was trying way too hard to trill it.’
      • ‘Her voice was wobbly and shaky, she sniffed a bit and changed how she sat again.’
      • ‘Charlotte Church shot to fame as the little schoolgirl with the big wobbly voice.’
      • ‘He raised his wobbly voice and began talking in tangents about why he wrote the article.’
      • ‘This British musical certainly holds its own against Hollywood rivals of the same era, although the chorus lines tend to be slightly wobbly.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The voice was wobbly and anxious and seemed to be issuing from the coatroom in the corner of the grand sitting room.’
      • ‘Between their thick and wobbly tones and my horrible drawl, it's been a struggle.’
      • ‘I hoped he hadn't noticed how wobbly my voice was.’
      • ‘His voice was wobbly when he spoke, and he was barely able to form the words on his tongue.’
      • ‘In Dragoni's first big scene she was wobbly, her voice broke, she tried singing lower, and crumbled on every big note.’
    4. 1.4 (of a line or handwriting) not straight or regular.
      • ‘Lustig added that the writing was wobbly, so she gave high praise to the Issaquah mail-sorting system.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Grace and Vahn the title said, in Ellie's large, wobbly handwriting.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The letters were black felt-tip, scrawled across the paper in giant wobbly letters.’
      • ‘They had each marked their individual affidavits with a wobbly cross, for few can write their names.’


  • 1A fit of temper or panic.

    ‘my daughter threw a wobbly when I wouldn't let her play’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Gloria is liable to throw a wobbly at the mere mention of ‘four eyes’.’
    • ‘It's reassuring, in a way, when these technological things throw a wobbly.’
    • ‘Then for some reason my PC decided to throw a wobbly.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Take this one insurance company, for example, which last week threw a wobbly over the £2m pay-off for, former British Airways boss.’
    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. 1.1the wobblies A fit of panic.
      ‘the driver was having an attack of the wobblies’