1. the quality or state of being unstable; lack of stability or firmness.
  2. the tendency to behave in an unpredictable, changeable, or erratic manner: emotional instability.

noun plural -ties

  1. lack of stability or steadiness
  2. tendency to variable or unpredictable behaviour
  3. physics a fast growing disturbance or wave in a plasma

early 15c., from Middle French instabilite “inconstancy,” from Latin instabilitatem (nominative instabilitas) “unsteadiness,” from instabilis “unsteady,” from in- “not, opposite of” (see in- (1)) + stabilis (see stable (2)).

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