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[hez-i-tuh n-see]
See more synonyms for hesitancy on Thesaurus.com
noun, plural hes·i·tan·cies
  1. hesitation; indecision or disinclination.
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Also hes·i·tance.

Origin of hesitancy

From the Latin word haesitantia, dating back to 1610–20. See hesitant, -ancy
Related formspre·hes·i·tan·cy, noun, plural pre·hes·i·tan·cies.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

skepticism, reluctance, indecision, hesitation, procrastination, uncertainty, irresolution, pause, wavering, delaying

Examples from the Web for hesitancy

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Dick spoke at once, with a hesitancy that betrayed the depth of his emotion.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • They were doing the "hesitation" with the hesitancy emphasized.

    Cap'n Dan's Daughter

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • Might he not yet turn to advantage this hesitancy of Crispin's to strike the final blow?

    The Tavern Knight

    Rafael Sabatini

  • For a moment, therefore, in his bearing bravado was tempered with hesitancy.

    The Strollers

    Frederic S. Isham

  • It is fair to say that the hesitancy of some was offset by the heroism of others.

Word Origin and History for hesitancy


1610s, from Latin haesitantia "action of stammering," from haesitantem (nominative haesitans) "stammering," present participle of haesitare (see hesitation).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

hesitancy in Medicine


  1. An involuntary delay or inability in starting the urinary stream.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.