unwilling; disinclined: a reluctant candidate.
struggling in opposition.

Origin of reluctant

1655–65; < Latin reluctant- (stem of reluctāns), present participle of reluctārī. See reluct, -ant
Related formsre·luc·tant·ly, adverbhalf-re·luc·tant, adjectivehalf-re·luc·tant·ly, adverbun·re·luc·tant, adjectiveun·re·luc·tant·ly, adverb
Can be confusedreluctant reticent (see synonym study at the current entry)reticent reluctant

Synonyms for reluctant

1. Reluctant, loath, averse describe disinclination toward something. Reluctant implies some sort of mental struggle, as between disinclination and sense of duty: reluctant to expel students. Loath describes extreme disinclination: loath to part from a friend. Averse, used with to and a noun or a gerund, describes a long-held dislike or unwillingness, though not a particularly strong feeling: averse to an idea; averse to getting up early.

Antonyms for reluctant Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for reluctantly

Contemporary Examples of reluctantly

Historical Examples of reluctantly

  • Slowly and reluctantly, the sailors took their places, for Robert was a favorite with them.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • The youth sat down as directed, but reluctantly and with diffidence.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • Reluctantly, apathetically, the Leopard Woman's men got to their feet.

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

  • "If you're so set on it, I'll see about your position this afternoon," conceded Martin reluctantly.


    Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius

  • Slowly and reluctantly I yielded to the fascinations of Florence Lascelles.

British Dictionary definitions for reluctantly



not eager; unwilling; disinclined
archaic offering resistance or opposition
Derived Formsreluctantly, adverb

Word Origin for reluctant

C17: from Latin reluctārī to resist; see reluct
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 reluctantly



"unwilling," 1660s, from Latin reluctantem (nominative reluctans), present participle of reluctari (see reluctance). Related: Reluctantly. Cf. Spanish reluchante, Italian riluttante.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper