stagger (v.)

mid-15c., "walk unsteadily, reel" (intransitive), altered from stakeren (early 14c.), from a Scandinavian source (compare Old Danish stagra, Old Norse stakra "to push, shove, cause to reel," also "to stumble, stagger," perhaps literally "hit with a stick," from Proto-Germanic *stakon- "a stake," from PIE *steg- (1) "pole, stick." Cognate with Dutch staggelen "to stagger," German staggeln "to stammer." Transitive sense of "bewilder, amaze" first recorded 1550s; that of "arrange in a zig-zag pattern" is from 1856. Related: Staggered; staggering.

updated on January 23, 2014

Definitions of stagger from WordNet
stagger (v.)
walk as if unable to control one's movements;
The drunken man staggered into the room
Synonyms: reel / keel / lurch / swag / careen
stagger (v.)
walk with great difficulty;
He staggered along in the heavy snow
Synonyms: flounder
stagger (v.)
to arrange in a systematic order;
stagger the chairs in the lecture hall
Synonyms: distribute
stagger (v.)
astound or overwhelm, as with shock;
She was staggered with bills after she tried to rebuild her house following the earthquake
stagger (n.)
an unsteady uneven gait;
Synonyms: lurch / stumble
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