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[hez-i-tuh nt] /ˈhɛz ɪ tənt/
hesitating; undecided, doubtful, or disinclined.
lacking readiness of speech.
Origin of hesitant
1640-50; < Latin haesitant- (stem of haesitāns), present participle of haesitāre to falter, hesitate, equivalent to haes(us), past participle of haerēre to stick, hold fast + -it- frequentative suffix + -ant- -ant
Related forms
hesitantly, adverb
nonhesitant, adjective
nonhesitantly, adverb
unhesitant, adjective
unhesitantly, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for hesitantly
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • hesitantly, he reached out and touched a button on the intercom.

  • "Yes," said he, hesitantly, with a backward glance into the room.

    When Life Was Young C. A. Stephens
  • "I believe we did, on several occasions," Egavine said hesitantly.

    The Star Hyacinths James H. Schmitz
  • Trigger said hesitantly, "Those people who were chasing this car—"

    Legacy James H Schmitz
  • Then hesitantly continuing: "If you could spare an hour or two this afternoon——?"


    George Looms
  • We all looked at each other intently, and I went on hesitantly.

    The Chamber of Life Green Peyton Wertenbaker
British Dictionary definitions for hesitantly


wavering, hesitating, or irresolute
Derived Forms
hesitance, hesitancy, noun
hesitantly, adverb
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 hesitantly



1640s, probably a back-formation from hesitancy, or else from Latin haesitantem. Related: Hesitantly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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