the act of hesitating; a delay due to uncertainty of mind or fear: His hesitation cost him the championship.
a state of doubt or uncertainty.
a halting or faltering in speech.

Origin of hesitation

First recorded in 1615–25, hesitation is from the Latin word haesitātiōn- (stem of haesitātiō). See hesitate, -ion
Related formspre·hes·i·ta·tion, noun

Synonyms for hesitation

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hesitation

Contemporary Examples of hesitation

Historical Examples of hesitation

  • Philip, after a moment's hesitation, followed her, and paused in the doorway.


    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • Between him and her as the victim of the law, there could be no hesitation for choice.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • And, after a second's hesitation: "I'm keeping straight, too."


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • "You'd better," he said, with quiet decision, cutting short my hesitation.

  • "Because I wish to learn," I replied, after a moment's hesitation.

Word Origin and History for hesitation

c.1400, from Old French hesitacion or directly from Latin haesitationem (nominative haesitatio) "a hesitation, stammering," figuratively "irresolution, uncertainty," from haesitare "stick fast, remain fixed; stammer in speech," figuratively "hesitate, be irresolute, be at a loss, be undecided," frequentative of haerere "stick, cling," from PIE *ghais-e (cf. Lithuanian gaistu "to delay, tarry"), from root *ghais- "to adhere; hesitate."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper