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hesitate

[hez-i-teyt]
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verb (used without object), hes·i·tat·ed, hes·i·tat·ing.
  1. to be reluctant or wait to act because of fear, indecision, or disinclination: She hesitated to take the job.
  2. to have scruples or doubts; be unwilling: He hesitated to break the law.
  3. to pause: I hesitated before reciting the next line.
  4. to falter in speech; stammer: Embarrassment caused the speaker to hesitate.
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Origin of hesitate

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

Synonyms for hesitate

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Antonyms for hesitate

1. decide. 3. hasten.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for hesitated

ponder, pause, balk, waffle, waver, falter, stumble, dither, defer, swerve, pussyfoot, seesaw, debate, dillydally, alternate, delay, flounder, doubt, fumble, shrink

Examples from the Web for hesitated

Contemporary Examples of hesitated

Historical Examples of hesitated

  • A bat circled near, indecisively, as if with a message it hesitated to give.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • I hesitated and tried to think of some safe way out of the dilemma.

    Biography of a Slave

    Charles Thompson

  • But therewith her own mind was made up: if he but hesitated, that would be enough!

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • For an instant, he hesitated while the others regarded him doubtfully.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • He hesitated a little, then went on, with a certain curious embarrassment.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana


British Dictionary definitions for hesitated

hesitate

verb (intr)
  1. to hold back or be slow in acting; be uncertain
  2. to be unwilling or reluctant (to do something)
  3. to stammer or pause in speaking
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Derived Formshesitater 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

Word Origin and History for hesitated

hesitate

v.

1620s, from Latin haesitatum, past participle of haesitare (see hesitation). Related: Hesitated; hesitating.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper