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hesitation

[hez-i-tey-shuh n]
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noun
  1. the act of hesitating; a delay due to uncertainty of mind or fear: His hesitation cost him the championship.
  2. a state of doubt or uncertainty.
  3. a halting or faltering in speech.
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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

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2. hesitancy, indecision, irresolution, vacillation. 3. stammer.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for hesitation

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

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

    Malbone

    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."

    K

    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

n.

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."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper