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vacillate

[vas-uh-leyt]
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verb (used without object), vac·il·lat·ed, vac·il·lat·ing.
  1. to waver in mind or opinion; be indecisive or irresolute: His tendency to vacillate makes him a poor leader.
  2. to sway unsteadily; waver; totter; stagger.
  3. to oscillate or fluctuate.

Origin of vacillate

1590–1600; < Latin vacillātus (past participle of vacillāre to sway to and fro); see -ate1
Related formsvac·il·la·tor, noun

Synonyms

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1. hesitate. See waver1. 2. reel.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for vacillator

Historical Examples

  • The youth has within him both a Hamlet and a Saint-Just, both a vacillator and a zealot.

    Romain Rolland

    Stefan Zweig

  • Anything to arouse this personator of our human mutability, this vacillator between doing and letting alone!


British Dictionary definitions for vacillator

vacillate

verb (intr)
  1. to fluctuate in one's opinions; be indecisive
  2. to sway from side to side physically; totter or waver
Derived Formsvacillation, nounvacillator, noun

Word Origin

C16: from Latin vacillāre to sway, of obscure origin
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 vacillator

vacillate

v.

1590s, "to sway unsteadily," from Latin vacillatum, from vacillare (see vacillation). Meaning "to waver between two opinions or courses" is recorded from 1620s. Related: Vacillated; vacillates; vacillating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper