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[wey-ver] /ˈweɪ vər/
verb (used without object)
to sway to and fro; flutter:
Foliage wavers in the breeze.
to flicker or quiver, as light:
A distant beam wavered and then disappeared.
become unsteady; begin to fail or give way:
When she heard the news her courage wavered.
to shake or tremble, as the hands or voice:
Her voice wavered.
to feel or show doubt, indecision, etc.; vacillate:
He wavered in his determination.
(of things) to fluctuate or vary:
Prices wavered.
to totter or reel:
The earth quaked and the tower wavered.
an act of wavering, fluttering, or vacillating.
Origin of waver1
1275-1325; Middle English (see wave, -er6); cognate with dialectal German wabern to move about, Old Norse vafra to toddle
Related forms
waverer, noun
waveringly, adverb
nonwavering, adjective
unwavered, adjective
unwavering, adjective
unwaveringly, adverb
4. quiver. 5. Waver, fluctuate, vacillate refer to an alternation or hesitation between one direction and another. Waver means to hesitate between choices: to waver between two courses of action. Fluctuate suggests irregular change from one side to the other or up and down: The prices of stocks fluctuate when there is bad news followed by good. Vacillate is to make up one's mind and change it again suddenly; to be undecided as to what to do: We must not vacillate but must set a day. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for waveringly
Historical Examples
  • "But supposin' Mrs. Macintosh wants another helpin'" (waveringly).

    Dimbie and I--and Amelia Mabel Barnes-Grundy
  • Indistinctly, waveringly as in a vision, dusky heads could be made out.

    Darkness and Dawn George Allan England
  • He went, waveringly, along the corridor, brushing the hangings with his shoulder.

    The Fifth Queen Ford Madox Ford
  • Her blue eyes looked at him waveringly, then dropped to the ground.

    The Snow-Burner Henry Oyen
  • Again she looks at him, waveringly this time, and thence to her turf.

    Doctor Cupid Rhoda Broughton
  • Again, they moved on waveringly, when suddenly a small piece of cracked rock detached itself from above, and came rolling down.

  • The small stuffed shop appeared to grow portentously cavernous and waveringly illumined.

  • The unwieldy man swayed gently and waveringly regarded the portrait.

    Ashton-Kirk, Investigator John T. McIntyre
  • Miss Townly went into a very large arm-chair and waveringly selected a crumpet.

    The Call of the Blood

    Robert Smythe Hichens
  • He was waveringly conscious, but he had lost all interest, all sense of personal connection, with the proceedings.

    Mountain Blood Joseph Hergesheimer
British Dictionary definitions for waveringly


verb (intransitive)
to be irresolute; hesitate between two possibilities
to become unsteady
to fluctuate or vary
to move back and forth or one way and another
(of light) to flicker or flash
the act or an instance of wavering
Derived Forms
waverer, noun
wavering, adjective
waveringly, adverb
Word Origin
C14: from Old Norse vafra to flicker; related to German wabern to move about
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 waveringly



late 13c., weyveren, "to show indecision," probably related to Old English wæfre "restless, wavering," from Proto-Germanic *wæbraz (cf. Middle High German wabern "to waver," Old Norse vafra "to hover about"), a frequentative form from the root of wave (v.). Related: Wavered; wavering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for waveringly


Related Terms

flag-waver, skivvy-waver

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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