[ fawl-ter ]
See synonyms for: falterfalteredfalteringfalteringly on Thesaurus.com

verb (used without object)
  1. to hesitate or waver in action, purpose, intent, etc.; give way: Her courage did not falter at the prospect of hardship.

  2. to speak hesitatingly or brokenly.

  1. to move unsteadily; stumble.

verb (used with object)
  1. to utter hesitatingly or brokenly: to falter an apology.

  1. the act of faltering; an unsteadiness of gait, voice, action, etc.

  2. a faltering sound.

Origin of falter

First recorded in 1300–50; Middle English falteren, of obscure origin; perhaps akin to Old Norse faltrast “to bother with, be troubled with”

Other words from falter

  • fal·ter·er, noun
  • fal·ter·ing·ly, adverb
  • non·fal·ter·ing, adjective
  • non·fal·ter·ing·ly, adverb
  • un·fal·ter·ing, adjective
  • un·fal·ter·ing·ly, adverb

Words Nearby falter

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use falter in a sentence

  • The man who would face a cannon's mouth would falter before the face of a woman whom he could crumple with one hand.

  • Consummate liar and comedian, or true man and no pretender, his eyes did not falter.

  • He shivers a little, but does not falter, and continues to walk with erect head and chest thrown out.

    The Nabob | Alphonse Daudet
  • He is grim and gruff; his voice is deep, and he has rough words for those who falter in duty; but he has a tender heart.

    The Boys of '61 | Charles Carleton Coffin.
  • Some roll to the bottom of the hill, the lamp of life extinguished forever; but their surviving comrades do not falter.

    The Boys of '61 | Charles Carleton Coffin.

British Dictionary definitions for falter


/ (ˈfɔːltə) /

  1. (intr) to be hesitant, weak, or unsure; waver

  2. (intr) to move unsteadily or hesitantly; stumble

  1. to utter haltingly or hesitantly; stammer

  1. uncertainty or hesitancy in speech or action

  2. a quavering or irregular sound

Origin of falter

C14: probably of Scandinavian origin; compare Icelandic faltrast

Derived forms of falter

  • falterer, noun
  • falteringly, adverb

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