out of kilter/whack

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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

out of whack

1. Not or no longer working or functioning properly. I don't know what's wrong with it, but the computer is totally out of whack—I can't even get past the login screen. The mechanic thinks the carburetor might have been thrown out of whack in the collision.
2. In a disordered or chaotic state. My whole day has been thrown out of whack by this accident. Our production timeline is a little out of whack because of the server crash we've been dealing with.
3. Not or no longer feeling good or normal; depressed or melancholy. Sorry, I've been a bit out of whack lately. I think I just need a bit of time to myself. I think you've been cooped up inside for too long. It's important to get some sunshine and fresh air each day, or else you start feeling out of whack.
See also: of, out, whack
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, 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
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