hesitate

[ hez-i-teyt ]
/ ˈhɛz ɪˌteɪt /

verb (used without object), hes·i·tat·ed, hes·i·tat·ing.

to be reluctant or wait to act because of fear, indecision, or disinclination: She hesitated to take the job.
to have scruples or doubts; be unwilling: He hesitated to break the law.
to pause: I hesitated before reciting the next line.
to falter in speech; stammer: Embarrassment caused the speaker to hesitate.

Origin of hesitate

1615–25; < Latin haesitātus, past participle of haesitāre. See hesitant, -ate1

OTHER WORDS FROM hesitate

hes·i·tat·er, hes·i·ta·tor, nounhes·i·tat·ing·ly, adverbpre·hes·i·tate, verb (used without object), pre·hes·i·tat·ed, pre·hes·i·tat·ing.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hesitate

British Dictionary definitions for hesitate

hesitate
/ (ˈhɛzɪˌteɪt) /

verb (intr)

to hold back or be slow in acting; be uncertain
to be unwilling or reluctant (to do something)
to stammer or pause in speaking

Derived forms of hesitate

hesitater or hesitator, nounhesitatingly, adverbhesitation, nounhesitative, adjective

Word Origin for hesitate

C17: from Latin haesitāre, from haerēre to cling to
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