out of kilter

(redirected from go off kilter)
Like this video? Subscribe to our free daily email and get a new idiom video every day!

out of kilter

1. Out of equilibrium; not straight, level, or aligned properly. This wall is a little out of kilter. We'll need to account for that during the renovation.
2. In a state of confusion or chaos. The economy has remained out of kilter in many countries across Europe, even as the global economy has started to recover. It seems like everything in my life has gone out of kilter recently.
3. Not working correctly or properly; out of order; out of w(h)ack. It sounds like your car's engine is a bit out of kilter. I'd recommend taking it to a mechanic before you go for any long drives.
See also: kilter, of, out
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

*out of kilter

 and *off-kilter 
1. Lit. out of balance; crooked or tilted. (*Typically: be ~; get ~; knock something ~.) John, your tie is sort of off-kilter. Let me fix it. Please straighten the picture on the wall. It's out of kilter.
2. Fig. malfunctioning; on the fritz. (*Typically: be ~; go ~.) My furnace is out of kilter. I have to call someone to fix it. This computer is out of kilter. It doesn't let me log on.
See also: kilter, of, out
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

out of kilter

Also, out of whack. Not properly adjusted, not working well, out of order. For example, This whole schedule is out of kilter with the rest of our projects, or The wheels on the trailer are out of whack. The first term, also spelled kelter, dates from the early 1600s and its origin is not known. The precise allusion of the variant, a colloquial term dating from the late 1800s, is also unclear. Possibly it relates to a whack, or blow, throwing something off, or some suggest, to wacky, that is, "crazy."
See also: kilter, of, out
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

out of kilter

out of harmony or balance.
Kilter , dating from the early 17th century, was a dialect word meaning ‘frame or order’. It is now used only in this phrase.
See also: kilter, of, out
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

out of ˈkilter

out of harmony or balance; not working properly: Long-haul flights tend to throw your body clock out of kilter for a couple of days.
See also: kilter, of, out
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

out of kilter

1. mod. not functioning properly; on the fritz; out of w(h)ack. My car’s engine is out of kilter and needs some repair work.
2. mod. out of square. That corner is not square, and the wall even looks out of kilter.
See also: kilter, of, out
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
See also:
References in periodicals archive ?
Saints' late, and somewhat fortuitous, 1-0 victory against Crystal Palace on Tuesday evening got them back to winning way after their remarkable season started to go off kilter.
Saints' late, and somewhat fortuitous, victory against Crystal Palace on Tuesday got them back to winning way after their remarkable season started to go off kilter. The latest in a line of disjointed displays looked set to cost Ronald Koeman's men, only for Sadio Mane to strike late on to secure a 1-0 win which moved them back to within a point of the top-four.
"Our lineout has been excellent and again it doesn't take much for it to go off kilter. We're aware of the things we need to fix.