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hesitate

[hez-i-teyt] /ˈhɛz ɪˌteɪt/
verb (used without object), hesitated, hesitating.
1.
to be reluctant or wait to act because of fear, indecision, or disinclination:
She hesitated to take the job.
2.
to have scruples or doubts; be unwilling:
He hesitated to break the law.
3.
to pause:
I hesitated before reciting the next line.
4.
to falter in speech; stammer:
Embarrassment caused the speaker to hesitate.
Origin of hesitate
1615-1625
1615-25; < Latin haesitātus, past participle of haesitāre. See hesitant, -ate1
Related forms
hesitater, hesitator, noun
hesitatingly, adverb
prehesitate, verb (used without object), prehesitated, prehesitating.
Synonyms
1. waver, vacillate, falter. 3. demur, delay.
Antonyms
1. decide. 3. hasten.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for hesitate
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Percival, with his new air of Wall Street operator, was inclined to hesitate.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • She thought the people of the towns might hesitate to admit so many men strangers.

    The Trail Book Mary Austin
  • Mr Verloc, thinking of Mr Vladimir, did not hesitate in the choice of words.

    The Secret Agent Joseph Conrad
  • Shall we hesitate to devote to him whatever he claims, or whatever we can bestow?

  • But Gawtrey had been so earnest on the subject, that he felt as if he had no right to hesitate.

    Night and Morning, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
British Dictionary definitions for hesitate

hesitate

/ˈhɛzɪˌteɪt/
verb (intransitive)
1.
to hold back or be slow in acting; be uncertain
2.
to be unwilling or reluctant (to do something)
3.
to stammer or pause in speaking
Derived Forms
hesitater, hesitator, noun
hesitatingly, adverb
hesitation, noun
hesitative, adjective
Word Origin
C17: from Latin haesitāre, from haerēre to cling to
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 hesitate
v.

1620s, from Latin haesitatum, past participle of haesitare (see hesitation). Related: Hesitated; hesitating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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