falter

verb
fal·​ter | \ˈfȯl-tər \
faltered; faltering\ˈfȯl-​t(ə-​)riŋ \

Definition of falter 

(Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to walk unsteadily : stumble the … stranger falters out of the thicket and drops to his knees— Dudley Fitts

b : to give way : totter could feel my legs faltering

c : to move waveringly or hesitatingly forced to bail out of faltering airplanes over the AlpsNat'l Geographic

2 : to speak brokenly or weakly : stammer her voice faltered

3a : to hesitate in purpose or action : waver he never faltered in his determination

b : to lose drive or effectiveness the business was faltering

transitive verb

: to utter hesitatingly or brokenly faltered an excuse

falter

noun

Definition of falter (Entry 2 of 2)

: an act or instance of faltering

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from falter

Verb

falterer \ˈfȯl-​tər-​ər \ noun
falteringly \ˈfȯl-​t(ə-​)riŋ-​lē \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for falter

Synonyms: Verb

balance, dither, halt, hang back, hesitate, scruple, shilly-shally, stagger, teeter, vacillate, waver, wobble (also wabble)

Antonyms: Verb

dive (in), plunge (in)

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for falter

Verb

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

Examples of falter in a Sentence

Verb

The business was faltering due to poor management. Their initial optimism has faltered. signs that the economy is faltering Her steps began to falter.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

If Seymour falters, second-round pick Jackson likely would be the next man up. Joseph Person, charlotteobserver, "Panthers mailbag: Why hasn't first-round pick D.J. Moore signed yet? Cause for worry?," 8 June 2018 Twitter quickly set up shop, as did Dolby and Uber, but residents and foot traffic didn’t follow as expected, new restaurants faltered, and homelessness persists. Curbed, "Can money create a neighborhood?," 19 Sep. 2018 Conversely, many hospitals that have tried to run insurers have faltered, with systems including New York’s Northwell Health closing down coverage ventures. Zachary Tracer, Bloomberg.com, "30,000 Strong and Counting, UnitedHealth Gathers a Doctor Army," 9 Apr. 2018 Form ultimately faltered again, and with relegation appearing as a possibility, Koeman was dispatched too. SI.com, "Why Everton Must Learn From Their History in Next Managerial Appointment or Be Doomed to Repeat it," 18 May 2018 Those trade discussions have recently faltered, but Trump’s commitment to help ZTE has not wavered. Damian Paletta, BostonGlobe.com, "Trump administration takes major step to help Chinese firm ZTE," 12 July 2018 But that vision — a place where tourists could see real movie-making magic at work — faltered over the years. Gabrielle Russon, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Disney-MGM Studios moves on from Hollywood dreams to theme park reality," 14 June 2018 Previous plans for hotels and condominium buildings on the site have faltered for various reasons. Phil Diehl, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Oceanside residents go to court to stop hotel construction," 13 June 2018 But that route of transmission epitomizes the country’s faltering response to the crisis, highlighting major gaps in HIV testing that allow infections to go untreated and the virus to spread. Jon Cohen, Science | AAAS, "Nigeria has more HIV-infected babies than anywhere in the world. It’s a distinction no country wants," 12 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Borrowers may struggle to repay their loans if interest rates continue to rise or global growth falters, the BOE said. Jason Douglas, WSJ, "BOE Warns of Growing Risks in Global Debt Markets," 27 June 2018 Why, then, does the pulse of the narrative falter in the second half? Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, "Gus Van Sant’s Semi-Surreal “Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot”," 13 July 2018 The Broncos are left without a prized rookie QB to take over if Case Keenum falters, but the team around Keenum has been improved. Mark Maske, chicagotribune.com, "AFC draft grades: The Broncos are alone at the top followed by a lot of pass/fails," 30 Apr. 2018 Then again, maybe the Kawhi Leonard-less Spurs falter and find themselves out of the playoff picture for the first time since 1997. Sam Amick, USA TODAY, "Viewer's guide to NBA's wild Western Conference playoff race," 2 Apr. 2018 In other words, a lot of Chinese capital is still eyeing the exits: If global trade falters and U.S. rates rise, China’s currency could be in for another test sooner than many expect. Nathaniel Taplin, WSJ, "Is the Yuan in China’s Trade-War Arsenal?," 13 Apr. 2018 But jobs could be in jeopardy if business falters, critics say. C. J. Hughes, New York Times, "In the Catskills, New Hope for the Return of Tourism," 27 Mar. 2018 Sinclair anticipates that improved blood flow could be important in helping not just aging tissues and organs, but speeding healing of wounds, particularly for people with diabetes who often lose fingers and toes as their circulation falters. Alice Park, Time, "This Compound Can Reverse Aging in Mice. Will It Work in People?," 22 Mar. 2018 Stockmann is able to persuade his friends, including the editor of the newspaper, that telling the truth about the water is important, but his environmental campaign falters. Rachel Shteir, New York Times, "Ibsen Wrote ‘An Enemy of the People’ in 1882. Trump Has Made It Popular Again.," 9 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'falter.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of falter

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

Noun

1834, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for falter

Verb

Middle English

Noun

see falter entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about falter

Dictionary Entries near falter

Falster

falsum

faltboat

falter

falus

fam

Fama

Statistics for falter

Last Updated

13 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for falter

The first known use of falter was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for falter

falter

verb

English Language Learners Definition of falter

: to stop being strong or successful : to begin to fail or weaken

: to begin to walk or move in an unsteady way

: to feel doubt about doing something

falter

verb
fal·​ter | \ˈfȯl-tər \
faltered; faltering

Kids Definition of falter

1 : to move unsteadily : waver

2 : to hesitate in speech

3 : to hesitate in purpose or action

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on falter

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with falter

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for falter

Spanish Central: Translation of falter

Nglish: Translation of falter for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of falter for Arabic Speakers

Comments on falter

What made you want to look up falter? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

living or existing for a long time

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!