My sentence is "The system was so badly designed that it has now become rickety. Even a minor change could cause the entire system to collapse". Rickety just doesn't seem to fit well.

  • 2
    "Fragile" might be better in some contexts. – Hot Licks Oct 11 '15 at 13:43
  • 2
    Unstable should work. – Joe Dark Oct 11 '15 at 13:47
  • 3
    Which synonyms have you considered and rejected? – JHCL Oct 11 '15 at 14:03
  • You may say that the system is now "in unstable equilibrium" or that it may "collapse like a house of cards". – Graffito Oct 11 '15 at 20:55
  • I rather like rickety there, actually. – Hellion Oct 12 '15 at 15:05

You can use "(extremely) unstable" in place of rickety. When you describe systems and computer-related hardwares and softwares which are not stable in operation, you use "unstable" which is defined in Wiktionary:

(1) Having a strong tendency to change. (2) Fluctuating; not constant. (3) Fickle. (4) Unpredictable.


You could use unstable or unsound. Fragile would also work. Rickety seems to fit better when referring to furniture or a stair-case.

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