Other forms: destabilizing; destabilized; destabilizes

To destabilize something is to undermine it, or to make it much less stable. Seeming uncertain or confused can destabilize a teacher's ability to control a class.

Political protesters might seek to destabilize a government or other institution, and lying to your best friend can destabilize your relationship. In both cases, the underlying stability of a situation is shaken, or made less sturdy. The earliest use of destabilize was in a physical sense, if something was literally unstable or shaky. By the 1920s, the word came to also have a more political meaning.

Definitions of destabilize
  1. verb
    make unstable
    “Terrorism destabilized the government”
    synonyms: destabilise
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    stabilise, stabilize
    make stable and keep from fluctuating or put into an equilibrium
    type of:
    alter, change, modify
    cause to change; make different; cause a transformation
  2. verb
    become unstable
    “The economy destabilized rapidly”
    synonyms: destabilise
    see moresee less
    stabilise, stabilize
    become stable or more stable
    type of:
    undergo a change; become different in essence; losing one's or its original nature
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DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘destabilize'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
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