[hez-i-tuh nt]
See more synonyms for hesitant on Thesaurus.com

Origin of hesitant

1640–50; < Latin haesitant- (stem of haesitāns), present participle of haesitāre to falter, hesitate, equivalent to haes(us), past participle of haerēre to stick, hold fast + -it- frequentative suffix + -ant- -ant
Related formshes·i·tant·ly, adverbnon·hes·i·tant, adjectivenon·hes·i·tant·ly, adverbun·hes·i·tant, adjectiveun·hes·i·tant·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for hesitantly

shyly, carefully, falteringly

Examples from the Web for hesitantly

Contemporary Examples of hesitantly

Historical Examples of hesitantly

  • Hesitantly, he reached out and touched a button on the intercom.

  • "Yes," said he, hesitantly, with a backward glance into the room.

    When Life Was Young

    C. A. Stephens

  • "I believe we did, on several occasions," Egavine said hesitantly.

    The Star Hyacinths

    James H. Schmitz

  • Trigger said hesitantly, "Those people who were chasing this car—"


    James H Schmitz

  • Then hesitantly continuing: "If you could spare an hour or two this afternoon——?"


    George Looms

British Dictionary definitions for hesitantly


  1. wavering, hesitating, or irresolute
Derived Formshesitance or hesitancy, nounhesitantly, 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

Word Origin and History for hesitantly



1640s, probably a back-formation from hesitancy, or else from Latin haesitantem. Related: Hesitantly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper