- to waver in mind or opinion; be indecisive or irresolute: His tendency to vacillate makes him a poor leader.
- to sway unsteadily; waver; totter; stagger.
- to oscillate or fluctuate.
Origin of vacillate
1590–1600; < Latin vacillātus (past participle of vacillāre to sway to and fro); see -ate1
SynonymsSee more synonyms for vacillate on Thesaurus.com
1. hesitate. See waver1. 2. reel.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for vacillator
The youth has within him both a Hamlet and a Saint-Just, both a vacillator and a zealot.Romain Rolland
Anything to arouse this personator of our human mutability, this vacillator between doing and letting alone!
- to fluctuate in one's opinions; be indecisive
- to sway from side to side physically; totter or waver
C16: from Latin vacillāre to sway, of obscure origin
Word Origin and History for vacillator
1590s, "to sway unsteadily," from Latin vacillatum, from vacillare (see vacillation). Meaning "to waver between two opinions or courses" is recorded from 1620s. Related: Vacillated; vacillates; vacillating.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper