• (British) IPA: /ˈstæɡə/ 
  • (America) IPA: /ˈstæɡɚ/

stagger (plural staggers)

  1. An unsteady movement of the body in walking or standing as if one were about to fall; a reeling motion
    • 7 October 2012, Paolo Bandini in The Guardian, Denver Broncos 21 New England Patriots 31 - as it happened ↗
      Put down the rosary beads folks, I believe hell may just have frozen over. Peyton Manning drops back, sees nothing open and runs for a first down. If you can call that running. More like the stagger of a wounded rhino. Did the job, though
    • 1861, Ellen Wood, East Lynne Chapter 39
      Afy slowly gathered in the sense of the words. She gasped twice, as if her breath had gone, and then, with a stagger and a shiver, fell heavily to the ground.
    the stagger of a drunken man
    • 1843, Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol Stave 2
      And when old Fezziwig and Mrs. Fezziwig had gone all through the dance; advance and retire; both hands to your partner, bow and courtesy, corkscrew, thread the needle, and back again to your place; Fezziwig "cut"—cut so deftly that he appeared to wink with his legs, and came upon his feet again without a stagger.
  2. (veterinary medicine) A disease of horses and other animals, attended by reeling, unsteady gait or sudden falling
    parasitic staggers
    apoplectic or sleepy staggers
  3. Bewilderment; perplexity.
  4. The spacing out of various actions over time.
    • 19 April 2016, Rachel Roddy in The Guardian, Rachel Roddy’s Roman spring vegetable stew recipe ↗
      I don’t include cured pork, although it is very nice, and rather than putting everything in the pan at once I prefer a stagger of ingredients, which ensures each one gets the right amount of time.
  5. (motorsport) The difference in circumference between the left and right tires on a racing vehicle. It is used on oval tracks to make the car turn better in the corners.
  6. (aviation) The horizontal positioning of a biplane, triplane, or multiplane's wings in relation to one another.
Translations Verb

stagger (staggers, present participle staggering; past and past participle staggered)

  1. Sway unsteadily, reel, or totter.
    1. (intransitive) In standing or walking, to sway from one side to the other as if about to fall; to stand or walk unsteadily; to reel or totter.
      She began to stagger across the room.
      • Deep was the wound; he staggered with the blow.
    2. (transitive) To cause to reel or totter.
      The powerful blow of his opponent's fist staggered the boxer.
      • 1595 December 9 (first known performance)​, William Shakespeare, “The life and death of King Richard the Second”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act V, scene v]:
        That hand shall burn in never-quenching fire / That staggers thus my person.
    3. (intransitive) To cease to stand firm; to begin to give way; to fail.
      • 1708, Joseph Addison, The Present State of the War, and the Necessity of an Augmentation
        The enemy staggers.
  2. Doubt, waver, be shocked.
    1. (intransitive) To begin to doubt and waver in purposes; to become less confident or determined; to hesitate.
      • 1611, The Holy Bible, […] (King James Version), imprinted at London: By Robert Barker, […], OCLC 964384981 ↗, Romans 4:20 ↗:
        He [Abraham] staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief.
    2. (transitive) To cause to doubt and waver; to make to hesitate; to make less steady or confident; to shock.
      He will stagger the committee when he presents his report.
      • Whosoever will read the story of this war will find himself much staggered.
      • Grants to the house of Russell were so enormous, as not only to outrage economy, but even to stagger credibility.
  3. (transitive) Have multiple groups doing the same thing in a uniform fashion, but starting at different, evenly-spaced, times or places (attested from 1856).
    1. To arrange (a series of parts) on each side of a median line alternately, as the spokes of a wheel or the rivets of a boiler seam.
    2. To arrange similar objects such that each is ahead or above and to one side of the next.
      We will stagger the starting positions for the race on the oval track.
    3. To schedule in intervals.
      We will stagger the run so the faster runners can go first, then the joggers.
Translations Translations Translations

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