out of kilter

(redirected from knock something 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.

out of kilter/whack

Out of adjustment or alignment, not working properly. Kilter is an American variant of kelter, an English dialect word used since the seventeenth century to mean “in good condition.” James Lowell used it in an 1862 letter, “I must rest awhile. My brain is out of kilter.” The origin of the synonymous out of whack, dating from the late 1800s, is more mysterious. The OED suggests it may come from wacky, for “crazy,” but that is by no means certain. Both terms are used to describe malfunctioning mechanisms (“This tape recorder is out of kilter and won’t rewind”) as well as figuratively (“He may have a conscience, but if you ask me, it’s slightly out of whack”).
See also: kilter, of, out, whack
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
See also:
Full browser ?