Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Lack of physical stability; unsteadiness.
  • n. The quality or condition of being erratic or undependable: emotional instability; political instability.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The quality of being unstable.
  • n. A state that is not in equilibrium, or in which a small change has a large irreversible effect.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The quality or condition of being unstable; lack of stability, firmness, or steadiness; liability to give way or to fail; insecurity; precariousness.
  • n. Lack of determination of fixedness; inconstancy; fickleness; mutability; changeableness

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The state of being unstable; want of stability or firmness, physical or moral; liability to fall, fail, give way, or suffer change.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an unstable order
  • n. unreliability attributable to being unstable
  • n. the quality or attribute of being unstable and irresolute
  • n. a lack of balance or state of disequilibrium

Etymologies

in- +‎ stability (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Lubos is using the term instability the way I find it meaningful.

    Exponential Growth in Physical Systems « Climate Audit

  • So there lies (excuse the pun) the problem for the West either to intervene in Libya and cause further mayhem for years to come (Iraq, Afghanistan) or let the problem pan out with short term instability and persecution..decisions decisions Obama and co...

    The Independent - Frontpage RSS Feed

  • Short interest in this stock is starting to grow and day traders should watch this in order to take advantage of some short term instability.

  • The name of Mr. Wouk's antihero, Captain Queeg, has become useful shorthand for a leader whose instability is exceeded only by his incompetence.

    War Stories

  • An unemployment check might be a family's last line of defense against the poor health, disruptions in education, and long-term instability that are associated with severe poverty.

    Michelle Chen: Washington's Debt Panic and the Real Social Debt in America

  • Ivan Duane Braden, a former National Guardsman discharged from an Iraq-bound unit after superiors noted signs of instability, is arrested after checking into a mental health facility and telling counselors about plans to blow up a synagogue and a National Guard armory in Tennessee.

    Think Progress » Inhofe: ‘I believe in racial and ethnic profiling’ because ‘all terrorists are Muslims or Middle Easterners.’

  • The first argues, in essence, that, conservatives should back people seeking liberty and democratic reform wherever they emerge, and that any short-term instability is outweighed in the long run by the prospective emergence of new democratic governments that inevitably will share American ideals.

    Conservatives Spar Over Best Approach on Egypt

  • Monetary instability is a threat to the global recovery.

    Beggar the World

  • Clinton said outside support for Suleiman's efforts was essential despite risks of short-term instability, as illustrated by reports of an alleged attack Saturday on an oil pipeline in the Sinai Peninsula.

    Clinton: 'Perfect Storm' Brewing In Middle East

  • Oil companies invested in Kazakhstan believe that whatever leader comes next will deal with them on good terms, he said, and I agree, but concern is getting stronger on the threat of medium-term instability.

    Kazakh Vote Opens Parliament to Opposition

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