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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 hesitated
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A bat circled near, indecisively, as if with a message it hesitated to give.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • I hesitated and tried to think of some safe way out of the dilemma.

    Biography of a Slave Charles Thompson
  • But therewith her own mind was made up: if he but hesitated, that would be enough!

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
  • For an instant, he hesitated while the others regarded him doubtfully.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • He hesitated a little, then went on, with a certain curious embarrassment.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
British Dictionary definitions for hesitated

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 hesitated

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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