Definition of unsettled in English:


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  • 1Lacking stability.

    ‘an unsettled childhood’
    • ‘But as time passed, one began to wonder whether Diana could sustain romance of any kind, due to insecurities that she herself traced to an unsettled childhood.’
    • ‘According to NACRO, Joseph lived an unsettled childhood and exhibited clear signs of depression and suicidal thoughts.’
    • ‘He had an unsettled childhood and, like many ambitious Egyptians of limited means, in 1937 he chose a career in the army.’
    • ‘He had himself been through an unsettled childhood and home life. He spent years in care.’
    • ‘There, they can help stabilize unsettled regions through their presence and training.’
    • ‘However, with all the turmoil we've been experiencing in the past two months, the moving around and general unsettled life we've been leading we never quite managed the first schedule, let alone the second.’
    • ‘After an unsettled childhood he transformed himself into an eccentric showman and anti-hero of British boxing in the Nineties.’
    • ‘She is quick to point out that her childhood was not unhappy, just unsettled.’
    • ‘It was an unsettled, nomadic period in his life.’
    • ‘However, some have said that he does not possess the qualities required for leading the company, particularly as it is in an unsettled state.’
    • ‘Sam took the award for his portfolio ‘Colombia on the brink - the escalating war’, a series of images documenting the current unsettled times in South America.’
    • ‘Saudi Arabia mourns King Fahd, a traditionalist in changing times, and it pledges loyalty to Abdullah, heir to a stable government and an unsettled state.’
    • ‘The state of the laws is still unsettled in Russia.’
    • ‘How Nguyen came to be into making compositions out of bugs began with her early difficult years in an unsettled Vietnam when she and part of her family fled to the countryside for safety.’
    • ‘Ó Rathaille continued to lead an unsettled life, spending periods of time in Kerry and Limerick.’
    • ‘Nevertheless, it enjoyed four successful series, providing a rich seam of satire and some much-needed light relief during a particularly unsettled period of Britain's recent past.’
    • ‘The finding prompted the theory that the boy king was murdered by a blow to the head during the unsettled period of his reign.’
    • ‘These factors include your medical problems, your current unsettled living conditions and the fact that you are an ex-asylum seeker, who was granted refugee status in January 2000.’
    • ‘Reid Pearce, mitigating, said Sheridan had a very unsettled family background.’
    • ‘My life is really unsettled, my friends have much more settled lives than I do at this point.’
    aimless, directionless, purposeless, without purpose, without a goal
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    1. 1.1Worried and uneasy.
      ‘she felt edgy and unsettled’
      • ‘They shuffled some more and looked about, uneasy, unsettled, on edge.’
      • ‘Caddy finally goes to bed, but, unsettled, Quentin wanders around, and happens to bump into Dalton.’
      • ‘Dr. Vincent, an old family friend, takes Paul fishing in order to help ease his mind, but Paul remains unsettled and decides to return home.’
      • ‘He was even more unsettled when he thought the transit was going to crash into the side of the station.’
      • ‘On the two nights in question, Mr Weekes was very unsettled and nothing could be done to calm him.’
      • ‘Nevertheless, the experience left me slightly unsettled and reinforced the knowledge that simply looking different would play a major role in how I am perceived and treated in Guyana.’
      • ‘Brass will now need to discuss every senior player's contract - are all up for renewal this summer - but Dunning added the players have not been unsettled by not being able to discuss plans for next season.’
      • ‘This is because whenever anyone was feeling sad or afraid or angry or unsettled, the young man simply played his fiddle, and the music banished every bit of sadness, fear, anger and uneasiness.’
      • ‘But behind the picture-postcard facade, residents of the rural community of Bradfield, on the outskirts of Sheffield, have become increasingly unsettled.’
      • ‘During a brief Q & A session after the screening, Perry tried, unsuccessfully in my opinion, to justify the elements of the movie that left me unsettled.’
      • ‘When the more precipitous segments of this rollercoaster ride are crammed into a few short days, as they have been either side of this New Year, unsettled investors can be forgiven for wondering what on earth is going on.’
      • ‘But his usual easy-going charm seemed to have temporarily deserted him, and she found him terse, uncommunicative, clearly unsettled by her absence.’
      • ‘But now I am more unsettled than ever, and seriously wigged out.’
      • ‘I found it a disturbing remembrance, and I shuddered a little to shrug it off, feeling distinctly unsettled and out of place, drifting without support for an instant, like the falling leaves.’
      • ‘And even the Soviet photographs, which were intended to depict an improving economy, leave the viewer unsettled, with so much left unsaid.’
      • ‘Another pivotal moment is coming soon - the one in which ministers have to persuade unsettled MPs that its most controversial proposals were indeed those they campaigned for in May.’
      • ‘Harried by constant fire and unsettled by the universal presence of landmines - the main cause of casualties - the Russian army has been thoroughly demoralised.’
      • ‘They should be playing their fab new single Everybody's Gonna Be Happy and, if we're immensely fortunate, our Dad will not appear in the doorway sounding a little unsettled.’
      • ‘‘Workers were unsettled when it began vibrating and made strange noises,’ a spokesman for police in the eastern city of Chemnitz said.’
      • ‘Sources claim staff have become unsettled by regular ownership changes.’
      restless, restive, fidgety, anxious, worried, troubled, fretful
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    2. 1.2Liable to change; unpredictable.
      ‘a spell of unsettled weather’
      • ‘The bill justifies this premise by reference to ‘the uncertainty and unsettled character of all human knowledge.’’
      • ‘These are extraordinarily uncertain and unsettled times.’
      • ‘Gameplay is unpredictable; it shuttles back and forth, unsettled, dynamic, open to chance.’
      • ‘Cyclonic weather with a depression centred over the UK can cause unsettled conditions in both winter and summer.’
      • ‘As Parker points out, the meanings of these words for other purposes were unsettled and changing in this period.’
      • ‘It will stay quite unsettled over the weekend, especially in the north and west.’
      • ‘Easter Monday looks even more unsettled, with cloudy, rainy skies and temperatures falling to 11C.’
      • ‘The crew had its first training session in February, a four-day ordeal which was deemed a success despite windy and unsettled conditions, with winds getting up to 38 knots at times.’
      • ‘One would not be surprised to learn that they are far more worried about holding their jobs in an unsettled economy.’
      • ‘We are in a transitional and liminal time: this makes everything unsettled and awkward, and most of us feel tremendous unrest and a sense of urgency.’
      • ‘In the unsettled world today, many Australians are looking for a direction.’
      • ‘Martine says: ‘Twenty-five years have passed and we always said that in this very unsettled world, the spirit of Krashny is one of solidarity.’’
      • ‘The unsettled political situation has meant that the frequency and level of protest action (by both Maoist and other political groups) has increased.’
      • ‘Things are very politically unsettled at the moment.’
      • ‘And in unsettled times, there's always the option of cheering oneself up by playing ‘who have I outlived?’’
      • ‘It is still raining and unsettled; applying crucial sprays like T2 fungicides and first blight sprays has been frustrating.’
      • ‘The Credit market remains extraordinarily unsettled, although rates ended the week little changed.’
      • ‘The corporate bond market remains unsettled, with junk spreads widening again this week.’
      • ‘We operate today in an extraordinarily unsettled financial environment dominated by leveraged speculation and U.S. foreign liabilities of unprecedented amounts.’
      • ‘In that stretch there has never been a time so unsettled.’
      changeable, changing, variable, varying, inconstant, inconsistent, ever-changing, erratic, unstable, unsteady, shifting, fluid, undependable, unreliable, uncertain, unpredictable, mercurial, quicksilver, kaleidoscopic, chameleon-like
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  • 2Not yet resolved.

    ‘one important question remains unsettled’
    • ‘I look forward to seeing the DPP and the KMT cooperate to resolve unsettled human rights cases and bring justice to former political prisoners.’
    • ‘Nevertheless, the controversies over literary openness are far from being resolved, and many related issues remain unsettled.’
    • ‘Its sphere of application is public life, not private life. Where to draw this line between public and private for this purpose is itself an unsettled and controversial issue.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, Collins's case remains unsettled, and only chipping paint and crumbling steps indicate the havoc inside her house.’
    • ‘In the contemplative ‘Untitled’ Fairfax explores family memories and her unsettled relationship with her father.’
    • ‘The phonetic form and spelling and the derivation are alike unsettled, the uncertainty of the latter involving that of the former.’
    • ‘But the grand question was still unsettled of how this epidemic was generated and increased.’
    • ‘He has moved back and forth in a way that aides said reflected the unsettled question of how harshly he should distinguish himself from the president.’
    • ‘Working against the bill, however, were unsettled questions over whether legislators had the authority to change the state's definition of marriage.’
    • ‘The issue of illegitimacy of space that Eklavya has occupied in government schools though historical is now an issue that would be dangerous to leave unsettled.’
    • ‘The issues facing the Arab League summit in Algeria this month will remain unsettled until the key players define a common stance, reports Dina Ezzat’
    • ‘The status of contract personnel on the battlefield and the guaranteeing of continuing service in combat are murky and unsettled questions.’
    • ‘Since this is a relatively recent and unsettled debate, through this example we can see Critical Theory in the making.’
    • ‘Points of disagreement can be as informative as the timeline itself, highlighting unsettled areas in art history.’
    • ‘This is an unsettled area, so it is smart to take a conservative approach until further guidelines are developed.’
    • ‘Battle on some unsettled disputes may need to be fought afresh’
    • ‘But underlying all this, there are tensions born of age-old rivalries, long unsettled land disputes and of arguments long forgotten.’
    • ‘There remained various issues that lay beneath the smiles of the newly named Zimbabweans, unsettled problems that were left to fester deep in the hearts of many in the country.’
    • ‘Therefore, certification is an acceptable and conciliatory method for determining a state court's opinion regarding an unsettled or disputed question of law.’
    • ‘The lecturers, who were seeking a 3.25 percent increase, had been withholding grades and were threatening rolling strikes while their dispute remained unsettled.’
    undecided, to be decided, unresolved, undetermined, uncertain, open, arguable, debatable, disputed, unanswered, open to debate, doubtful, in doubt, moot, up in the air, in limbo, in a state of limbo, in a state of uncertainty, indefinite, inconclusive, unconfirmed, unsolved, ongoing, pending
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    1. 2.1(of a bill) not yet paid.
      ‘they charge interest on debts that remain unsettled after 30 days’
      • ‘Zambia's monopoly electric company has found a new way to collect more than R600 million in unsettled bills - by rewarding its defaulting customers.’
      • ‘Bookkeeping accompanied by signed receipts would memorialise and facilitate credit transfers that remained unsettled for many years.’
      • ‘As at December 31 last year, councils owed their workers about K18 billion in unsettled arrears and the Government had since paid off half of the amount.’
      • ‘Accordingly, the Respondent decided that the bank did not owe the appellant any money in unsettled bills.’
      • ‘After checking, the agent told my that my account has been blocked due to an unsettled bill.’
      unpaid, payable, outstanding, owing, owed, to be paid, due, overdue, undischarged, in arrears, in the red, receivable
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  • 3(of an area) having no settlers or inhabitants.

    ‘At first they were held in public houses, but as the attempts to eliminate them intensified, they moved to unsettled areas on the outskirts of settlement.’
    • ‘Some reservations closely followed traditional Ojibwa boundaries, while others were established in previously unsettled areas.’
    • ‘Generous with encouragement for preservation, the Colonial Office was stingy with funds to pay for policing vast unsettled areas.’
    • ‘There is the idea of the settled community as a human habitation and center of civilization, as opposed to the unsettled, wild areas surrounding it that are believed to be inhabited by spirits.’
    • ‘The park will extend to the northern bank of the Haonib River, inclusive of the associated flood plains, as well as unsettled state land connecting the Hobatere concession area.’
    • ‘Overlanders are celebrated as key figures in local pioneer legends, which, typically, emphasise the perils of travelling unprotected through unsettled country and their bravery for doing so.’
    • ‘After nearly a decade of promotion and pioneering, the Everglades remained relatively unsettled.’
    uninhabited, unpopulated, unpeopled, unoccupied, unfrequented
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/ˌənˈsedld/ /ˌənˈsɛdld/