[ wey-ver ]
See synonyms for: waverwaveredwavering on Thesaurus.com

verb (used without object)
  1. to sway to and fro; flutter: Foliage wavers in the breeze.

  2. to flicker or quiver, as light: A distant beam wavered and then disappeared.

  1. become unsteady; begin to fail or give way: When she heard the news her courage wavered.

  2. to shake or tremble, as the hands or voice: Her voice wavered.

  3. to feel or show doubt, indecision, etc.; vacillate: He wavered in his determination.

  4. (of things) to fluctuate or vary: Prices wavered.

  5. to totter or reel: The earth quaked and the tower wavered.

  1. an act of wavering, fluttering, or vacillating.

Origin of waver

First recorded in 1275–1325; Middle English waveren, waferen “to totter, swing”; cognate with Middle High German wabern “to waver,” dialectal German wabern “to move about,” Old Norse vafra “to hover about, roam”; see wave, -er6

synonym study For waver

5. Waver, fluctuate, vacillate refer to an alternation or hesitation between one direction and another. Waver means to hesitate between choices: to waver between two courses of action. Fluctuate suggests irregular change from one side to the other or up and down: The prices of stocks fluctuate when there is bad news followed by good. Vacillate is to make up one's mind and change it again suddenly; to be undecided as to what to do: We must not vacillate but must set a day.

Other words for waver

Other words from waver

  • wa·ver·er, noun
  • un·wa·vered, adjective

Words Nearby waver

Other definitions for waver (2 of 2)

[ wey-ver ]

  1. a person who waves or causes something to wave: Election time brings out the wavers of flags and haranguers of mobs.

  2. a person who specializes in waving hair.

  1. something, as a curling iron, used for waving hair.

Origin of waver

First recorded in 1550–60; wave + -er1

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use waver in a sentence

  • But that had no appreciable effect on military performance until the top leadership itself began to waver and retreat.

  • He steeled himself, for he had had his experience of woman's wiles; and his faith in masculine supremacy as a habit did not waver.

    Ancestors | Gertrude Atherton
  • He was rather gratified than otherwise to hear that Mr. Puffin had begun to waver in his ideas about celibacy.

  • Lindsay seemed to waver; her glance went near enough to him to show her that his face had a red tinge of embarrassment.

    Hilda | Sarah Jeanette Duncan
  • She drew back from me a little as I came; but her eyes did not waver from mine, and these lured me forward.

  • But now, to my surprise and horror, when I looked into the eye of my monitor, my own eye would not waver nor admit subjection!

    The Way of a Man | Emerson Hough

British Dictionary definitions for waver


/ (ˈweɪvə) /

  1. to be irresolute; hesitate between two possibilities

  2. to become unsteady

  1. to fluctuate or vary

  2. to move back and forth or one way and another

  3. (of light) to flicker or flash

  1. the act or an instance of wavering

Origin of waver

C14: from Old Norse vafra to flicker; related to German wabern to move about

Derived forms of waver

  • waverer, noun
  • wavering, adjective
  • waveringly, adverb

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