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[fawl-ter] /ˈfɔl tər/
verb (used without object)
to hesitate or waver in action, purpose, intent, etc.; give way:
Her courage did not falter at the prospect of hardship.
to speak hesitatingly or brokenly.
to move unsteadily; stumble.
verb (used with object)
to utter hesitatingly or brokenly:
to falter an apology.
the act of faltering; an unsteadiness of gait, voice, action, etc.
a faltering sound.
Origin of falter
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 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for falteringly
Historical Examples
  • "Perhaps not everything is sad," I made answer, falteringly.

    In the Valley Harold Frederic
  • "I have come to speak of it—to ask pardon for it—I was in the wrong," he said, falteringly.

    A Son of Hagar

    Sir Hall Caine
  • How falteringly, and with what pathos she used this grand old word now!

  • "I can not tell you that, Miss Rogers," answered Bernardine, falteringly.

    Jolly Sally Pendleton

    Laura Jean Libbey
  • "It was because the police believe that Hazel was—was in love with you, Phil," she falteringly said.

    The Hand in the Dark Arthur J. Rees
  • She called to him falteringly, but with such appeal in her tones that he halted and stared at her.

    Blow The Man Down Holman Day
  • They could speak of nothing but that; and yet of that they could speak only falteringly.

  • "But—we are keeping Lady Lansmere too long," she said falteringly.

    My Novel, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • "You are cruel, you are unjust," said Dalibard, falteringly.

    Lucretia, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • “I hope your mother is well,” she said at last, falteringly, after a long pause.

    Phoebe, Junior Mrs [Margaret] Oliphant
British Dictionary definitions for falteringly


(intransitive) to be hesitant, weak, or unsure; waver
(intransitive) to move unsteadily or hesitantly; stumble
to utter haltingly or hesitantly; stammer
uncertainty or hesitancy in speech or action
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 falteringly



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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