- to be reluctant or wait to act because of fear, indecision, or disinclination: She hesitated to take the job.
- to have scruples or doubts; be unwilling: He hesitated to break the law.
- to pause: I hesitated before reciting the next line.
- to falter in speech; stammer: Embarrassment caused the speaker to hesitate.
Origin of hesitate
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
1. waver, vacillate, falter. 3. demur, delay.
1. decide. 3. hasten.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for hesitating
If the matter were just about adding his name to backers of the legislation, Rubio would not be hesitating.Marco Rubio Weighs Supporting Abortion Ban, a Tricky Stand
July 10, 2013
In other states, unusual circumstances have left the Democrats hesitating while Republicans forge ahead with runs.The Democrats' 2012 Senate Blues
David A. Graham
April 7, 2011
The reporter stood with clenched fists and flashing eyes, hesitating.In the Midst of Alarms
"Miss Moore," he said in a hesitating manner, taking off his hat as he spoke.The Foolish Lovers
St. John G. Ervine
Low and hesitating as it was, Hiram started violently at the sound.Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates
Hesitating to advance, he pointed out the place to the attention of his companion.The Last of the Mohicans
James Fenimore Cooper
"I think I had better not," replied Eudora, in a hesitating voice.The Yates Pride
Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
- to hold back or be slow in acting; be uncertain
- to be unwilling or reluctant (to do something)
- to stammer or pause in speaking
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
Word Origin and History for hesitating
1620s, from Latin haesitatum, past participle of haesitare (see hesitation). Related: Hesitated; hesitating.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper