verb wa·ver \ˈwā-vər\

: to go back and forth between choices or opinions : to be uncertain about what you think about something or someone

: to move back and forth in an unsteady way

: to become unsteady because of weakness, emotion, tiredness, etc.

wa·veredwa·ver·ing \ˈwāv-riŋ, ˈwā-və-riŋ\

Full Definition of WAVER

intransitive verb
:  to vacillate irresolutely between choices :  fluctuate in opinion, allegiance, or direction
a :  to weave or sway unsteadily to and fro :  reel, totter
b :  quiver, flicker <wavering flames>
c :  to hesitate as if about to give way :  falter
:  to give an unsteady sound :  quaver
wa·ver·er \ˈwā-və-rər\ noun
wa·ver·ing·ly \ˈwāv-riŋ-lē, ˈwā-və-\ adverb

Examples of WAVER

  1. people who are still wavering between the two candidates
  2. They never wavered in their support for their leader.
  3. Despite the changes, he did not waver from his plan to retire.
  4. The kite wavered in the wind.

Origin of WAVER

Middle English; akin to Old English ̄fre restless, wafian to wave with the hands — more at wave
First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of WAVER

swing, wave, flourish, brandish, thrash mean to wield or cause to move to and fro or up and down. swing implies regular or uniform movement <swing the rope back and forth>. wave usually implies smooth or continuous motion <waving the flag>. flourish suggests vigorous, ostentatious, graceful movement <flourished the winning lottery ticket>. brandish implies threatening or menacing motion <brandishing a knife>. thrash suggests vigorous, abrupt, violent movement <an infant thrashing his arms about>.

swing, sway, oscillate, vibrate, fluctuate, waver, undulate mean to move from one direction to its opposite. swing implies a movement of something attached at one end or one side <the door suddenly swung open>. sway implies a slow swinging or teetering movement <trees swaying in the breeze>. oscillate stresses a usually regular alternation of direction <an oscillating fan>. vibrate suggests the rapid oscillation of an elastic body under stress or impact <the vibrating strings of a piano>. fluctuate suggests constant irregular changes of level, intensity, or value <fluctuating interest rates>. waver stresses irregular motion suggestive of reeling or tottering <the exhausted runner wavered before collapsing>. undulate suggests a gentle wavelike motion <an undulating sea of grass>.

hesitate, waver, vacillate, falter mean to show irresolution or uncertainty. hesitate implies a pause before deciding or acting or choosing <hesitated before answering the question>. waver implies hesitation after seeming to decide and so connotes weakness or a retreat <wavered in his support of the rebels>. vacillate implies prolonged hesitation from inability to reach a firm decision <vacillated until events were out of control>. falter implies a wavering or stumbling and often connotes nervousness, lack of courage, or outright fear <never once faltered during her testimony>.



Definition of WAVER

:  an act of wavering, quivering, or fluttering

First Known Use of WAVER



noun wav·er \ˈwā-vər\

Definition of WAVER

:  one that waves

First Known Use of WAVER

WAVERER Defined for Kids


verb wa·ver \ˈwā-vər\

Definition of WAVER for Kids

:  to be uncertain in opinion
:  to move unsteadily or to and fro
:  to give an unsteady sound <The music of the flutes wavered … — Lloyd Alexander, Time Cat>


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