verb (used without object)


an act of wavering, fluttering, or vacillating.

Origin of waver

1275–1325; Middle English (see wave, -er6); cognate with dialectal German wabern to move about, Old Norse vafra to toddle
Related formswa·ver·er, nounwa·ver·ing·ly, adverbnon·wa·ver·ing, adjectiveun·wa·vered, adjectiveun·wa·ver·ing, adjectiveun·wa·ver·ing·ly, adverb

Synonyms for waver

4. quiver. 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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for waveringly

Historical Examples of waveringly

  • "But supposin' Mrs. Macintosh wants another helpin'" (waveringly).

    Dimbie and I--and Amelia

    Mabel Barnes-Grundy

  • Indistinctly, waveringly as in a vision, dusky heads could be made out.

    Darkness and Dawn

    George Allan England

  • He went, waveringly, along the corridor, brushing the hangings with his shoulder.

    The Fifth Queen

    Ford Madox Ford

  • Her blue eyes looked at him waveringly, then dropped to the ground.

    The Snow-Burner

    Henry Oyen

  • Again she looks at him, waveringly this time, and thence to her turf.

    Doctor Cupid

    Rhoda Broughton

British Dictionary definitions for waveringly


verb (intr)

to be irresolute; hesitate between two possibilities
to become unsteady
to fluctuate or vary
to move back and forth or one way and another
(of light) to flicker or flash


the act or an instance of wavering
Derived Formswaverer, nounwavering, adjectivewaveringly, adverb

Word Origin for waver

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



late 13c., weyveren, "to show indecision," probably related to Old English wæfre "restless, wavering," from Proto-Germanic *wæbraz (cf. Middle High German wabern "to waver," Old Norse vafra "to hover about"), a frequentative form from the root of wave (v.). Related: Wavered; wavering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper