• synonyms


[ vas-uh-leyt ]
/ ˈvæs əˌleɪt /

verb (used without object), vac·il·lat·ed, vac·il·lat·ing.

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.

Nearby words

vaccinization, vaccinology, vachel, vacherin, vacillant, vacillate, vacillating, vacillation, vacillatory, vacterl syndrome, vacua

Origin of vacillate

1590–1600; < Latin vacillātus (past participle of vacillāre to sway to and fro); see -ate1
SYNONYMS FOR vacillate
1 hesitate. See waver1.
2 reel.
Related formsvac·il·la·tor, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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|Stefan Zweig
  • Anything to arouse this personator of our human mutability, this vacillator between doing and letting alone!

British Dictionary definitions for vacillator


/ (ˈvæsɪˌleɪt) /

verb (intr)

to fluctuate in one's opinions; be indecisive
to sway from side to side physically; totter or waver
Derived Formsvacillation, nounvacillator, noun

Word Origin for vacillate

C16: from Latin vacillāre to sway, of obscure origin
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 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