[ fawl-ter ]
/ ˈfɔl tər /
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verb (used without object)
to hesitate or waver in action, purpose, intent, etc.; give way: Her courage did not falter at the prospect of hardship.
to speak hesitatingly or brokenly.
to move unsteadily; stumble.
verb (used with object)
to utter hesitatingly or brokenly: to falter an apology.
the act of faltering; an unsteadiness of gait, voice, action, etc.
a faltering sound.
THINGAMABOB OR THINGUMMY: CAN YOU DISTINGUISH BETWEEN THE US AND UK TERMS IN THIS QUIZ?
Do you know the difference between everyday US and UK terminology? Test yourself with this quiz on words that differ across the Atlantic.
Question 1 of 7
In the UK, COTTON CANDY is more commonly known as…
Origin of falter
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, nounfal·ter·ing·ly, adverbnon·fal·ter·ing, adjectivenon·fal·ter·ing·ly, adverb
un·fal·ter·ing, adjectiveun·fal·ter·ing·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use falter in a sentence
Slowly, still falteringly but inexorably, Jim Crow justice was disappearing in the South.Honoring The Late John Doar, A Nearly Forgotten Hero Of The Civil Rights Era|Gary May|November 15, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Ladies and gentlemen, he falteringly said, Signor Diotti left his hotel at seven oclock and was driven to the Academy.The Fifth String |John Philip Sousa
"When you are away, I sometimes fear the Indians—or a snake—or—or something may harm you," said she, falteringly.Wild Western Scenes|John Beauchamp Jones
Then slowly, falteringly, her amazed eyes over her shoulder upon him, Maggie crossed and unlocked the door.Children of the Whirlwind|Leroy Scott
As the pair came thus falteringly into the center of the room, Sarah at last found her voice for an expression of sympathy.
She still walked the streets falteringly, seeking some place; but her heart was gone from the quest.
British Dictionary definitions for falter
/ (ˈfɔːltə) /
(intr) to be hesitant, weak, or unsure; waver
(intr) to move unsteadily or hesitantly; stumble
to utter haltingly or hesitantly; stammer
uncertainty or hesitancy in speech or action
a quavering or irregular sound
Derived forms of falterfalterer, nounfalteringly, adverb
Word Origin for falter
C14: probably of Scandinavian origin; compare Icelandic faltrast
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