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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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for falteringly
Historical Examples
  • The two men, Sherburne falteringly, stepped down and moved to the open plain.

    Romany of the Snows Gilbert Parker
  • They could speak of nothing but that; and yet of that they could speak only falteringly.

  • Only the great duty I owe your Highness could ever make me say, replied Cecil, falteringly.

    Hildebrand Anonymous
  • How falteringly, and with what pathos she used this grand old word now!

  • Now she only said, falteringly, and looking down, "I—I hoped you would come."

    Their Pilgrimage Charles Dudley Warner
  • "I can not tell you that, Miss Rogers," answered Bernardine, falteringly.

    Jolly Sally Pendleton Laura Jean Libbey
  • "I was goin't' ask you—her—what to do about—about something," she said, falteringly.

    Pray You, Sir, Whose Daughter? Helen H. Gardener
  • "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
  • "You speak to me like a lady—like a good woman," she said, falteringly.

    Mount Royal, Volume 1 of 3 Mary Elizabeth Braddon
  • "You are cruel, you are unjust," said Dalibard, falteringly.

    Lucretia, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
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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