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. 2018

Examples from the Web for unreluctant

Historical Examples of unreluctant

  • A man sprang after her and caught her, unreluctant, in his arms.


    Justin Huntly McCarthy

  • Some go down to it unreluctant, and meet it, like the river, not without nobility.

  • He unveils the mysteries of iniquity with a fearless and by no means an unreluctant hand.

  • Emily, on her part, was disposed to yield an unreluctant obedience, and therefore it was not difficult to restrain her.

    Caleb Williams

    William Godwin

  • As he spoke he placed some money in her unreluctant hand, and returned on his way home.

British Dictionary definitions for unreluctant


  1. not eager; unwilling; disinclined
  2. 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 unreluctant



"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