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The Complete Vocabulary Builder Workbook



How to pronounce stagger (audio)

Dictionary definition of stagger

To move unsteadily or sway from side to side, often as a result of being off balance or experiencing dizziness or exhaustion.
"The impact of the car crash caused the driver to stagger out of the vehicle, dazed and disoriented."

Detailed meaning of stagger

It implies a lack of stability or coordination in one's movement, causing an unsteady gait or wavering motion. Additionally, "stagger" can also be used figuratively to describe the act of surprising, shocking, or overwhelming someone, as if they were physically thrown off balance. It carries connotations of astonishment, disbelief, or emotional turmoil. Overall, "stagger" denotes a state of imbalance, whether in physical or metaphorical sense, leading to a shaky and unstable condition.

Example sentences containing stagger

1. The boxer delivered a powerful punch that caused his opponent to stagger backward.
2. The strong winds made the trees stagger and sway in a mesmerizing dance.
3. The heavy load caused him to stagger under its weight as he tried to carry it upstairs.
4. The bottle of wine had made him stagger and stumble as he attempted to walk.
5. The strong odor of the chemicals made him stagger and cough uncontrollably.
6. He will stagger along the path with great determination.

History and etymology of stagger

The verb 'stagger' has an etymology that aligns with its unsteady, swaying motion. It originates from the Old Norse word 'stakra,' which meant 'to reel' or 'to sway.' This Old Norse term later influenced the Middle English word 'stakeren,' which also conveyed the idea of unsteady movement. Over time, 'stagger' came into its own in the English language, describing the act of moving unsteadily, often due to being off balance, feeling dizzy, or experiencing exhaustion. The word 'stagger' vividly encapsulates the visual and physical impression of someone or something swaying and struggling to maintain equilibrium, making it an apt descriptor for unsteady or precarious movement.

Quiz: Find the meaning of stagger

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Further usage examples of stagger

1. The dancer will gracefully stagger across the stage.
2. The old man will stagger towards the finish line.
3. The drunkard will stagger out of the bar.
4. The tired hiker will stagger up the steep mountain slope.
5. The wounded soldier will stagger back to his comrades.
6. The ship will stagger in the rough seas.
7. The exhausted runner will stagger towards the finish line.
8. The injured athlete will stagger off the field.
9. The worker will stagger under the weight of the heavy load.
10. The partygoer will stagger home after a long night of celebration.
11. The toddler will stagger around the room, trying to walk.
12. The boxer will stagger after a powerful punch to the head.
13. The earthquake will cause buildings to stagger and crumble.
14. The injured bird will stagger across the garden, struggling to fly.
15. The drunken revelers will stagger through the city streets, singing loudly.
16. The exhausted marathon runner will stagger across the finish line.
17. The shipwreck survivor will stagger onto the shore, gasping for breath.
18. The injured deer will stagger through the forest, searching for safety.
19. The tired student will stagger into the classroom, barely awake.



wobble, stride, march, walk steadily


TOEFL 1, Accidents and Unpredictability, Movement and Flow

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