adjective re·luc·tant \ri-ˈlək-tənt\

: feeling or showing doubt about doing something : not willing or eager to do something

Full Definition of RELUCTANT

:  feeling or showing aversion, hesitation, or unwillingness <reluctant to get involved>; also :  having or assuming a specified role unwillingly <a reluctant hero>
re·luc·tant·ly adverb

Examples of RELUCTANT

  1. We were reluctant to get involved.
  2. He might agree but seems reluctant to admit it.
  3. 94% of the butterflies are females, and they jostle for the attention of the few males, who seem reluctant suitors. —Carl Zimmer, Science, 11 May 2001


Latin reluctant-, reluctans, present participle of reluctari to struggle against, from re- + luctari to struggle
First Known Use: 1667

Synonym Discussion of RELUCTANT

disinclined, hesitant, reluctant, loath, averse mean lacking the will or desire to do something indicated. disinclined implies lack of taste for or inclination <disinclined to move again> <disinclined for reading>. hesitant implies a holding back especially through fear or uncertainty <hesitant about asking for a date>. reluctant implies a holding back through unwillingness <a reluctant witness>. loath implies hesitancy because of conflict with one's opinions, predilections, or liking <seems loath to trust anyone>. averse implies a holding back from or avoiding because of distaste or repugnance <averse to hard work> <not averse to an occasional drink>.
RELUCTANT Defined for Kids


adjective re·luc·tant \ri-ˈlək-tənt\

Definition of RELUCTANT for Kids

:  showing doubt or unwillingness <She was reluctant to go.>
re·luc·tant·ly adverb


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