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falter

[fawl-ter] /ˈfɔl tər/
verb (used without object)
1.
to hesitate or waver in action, purpose, intent, etc.; give way:
Her courage did not falter at the prospect of hardship.
2.
to speak hesitatingly or brokenly.
3.
to move unsteadily; stumble.
verb (used with object)
4.
to utter hesitatingly or brokenly:
to falter an apology.
noun
5.
the act of faltering; an unsteadiness of gait, voice, action, etc.
6.
a faltering sound.
Origin of falter
1300-1350
1300-50; Middle English falteren, of obscure origin; perhaps akin to Old Norse faltrast to bother with, be troubled with
Related forms
falterer, noun
falteringly, adverb
nonfaltering, adjective
nonfalteringly, adverb
unfaltering, adjective
unfalteringly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for falter
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I smiled and held out both my hands to him, and I could see him falter as he looked.

    The Bacillus of Beauty Harriet Stark
  • “Not very,” Mr Verloc managed to falter out, in a profound shudder.

    The Secret Agent Joseph Conrad
  • I had come and gone twice, and was again sitting by her, when she began to falter.

    A Tale of Two Cities Charles Dickens
  • Was there anything in the forecast of the night that made him falter?

    Bride of the Mistletoe James Lane Allen
  • Still her voice did not falter, and my courage did not give way.

    Wilfrid Cumbermede George MacDonald
British Dictionary definitions for falter

falter

/ˈfɔːltə/
verb
1.
(intransitive) to be hesitant, weak, or unsure; waver
2.
(intransitive) to move unsteadily or hesitantly; stumble
3.
to utter haltingly or hesitantly; stammer
noun
4.
uncertainty or hesitancy in speech or action
5.
a quavering or irregular sound
Derived Forms
falterer, noun
falteringly, adverb
Word Origin
C14: probably of Scandinavian origin; compare Icelandic faltrast
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for falter
v.

mid-14c., of unknown origin, possibly from a Scandinavian source (cf. Old Norse faltrask "be burdened, hesitate, be troubled"), or a frequentative of Middle English falden "to fold," influenced by fault. Related: Faltered; faltering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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9
10
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