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

Related forms

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 hesitating

British Dictionary definitions for hesitating

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

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