falter

verb
fal·​ter | \ ˈfȯl-tər How to pronounce falter (audio) \
faltered; faltering\ ˈfȯl-​t(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce faltering (audio) \

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

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Other Words from falter

Verb

falterer \ ˈfȯl-​tər-​ər How to pronounce falterer (audio) \ noun
falteringly \ ˈfȯl-​t(ə-​)riŋ-​lē How to pronounce falteringly (audio) \ 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)

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The liberal groups also unhappily remember a relatively slow start to the judicial nominating process by Mr. Obama’s administration given its need to focus on the faltering economy and other issues. Carl Hulse, New York Times, "Liberals Begin Lining Up Young Judges for a Post-Trump Surge," 8 June 2019 The city paid nearly $3 million last year to purchase the Sacred Heart facility, which was built about a decade ago but faltered after the state did not OK plans to allow for a higher level of care there. al.com, "Orange Beach-USA partner to put doctors on new city ambulances," 5 June 2019 Iranian lawmakers had ordered President Hassan Rouhani to answer for his role in the faltering economy amid growing political divisions in the country. Travis Fedschun, Fox News, "Iran's president vows to overcome 'anti-Iranians' in White House, as lawmakers issue public rebuke," 28 Aug. 2018 But even Stewart’s vigor falters as Locke’s own scholarly energies start to wane. Tobi Haslett, The New Yorker, "The Man Who Led the Harlem Renaissance—and His Hidden Hungers," 11 May 2018 The journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, were sentenced in September to seven years in prison for possessing state secrets, in a case seen as a test for press freedom and the country’s faltering democracy. Jon Emont, WSJ, "Journalists Jailed by Myanmar Appeal to Supreme Court," 1 Feb. 2019 Last season's Arizona squad faltered by losing to Xavier in the Sweet 16, bowing out much earlier than expected. Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY, "Out front in the Pac-12 on its own now, can we start believing in Arizona again?," 20 Jan. 2018 The devices found that not only did reaction times falter as firefighters remained longer on a fire before getting a mandatory break, Brooks said, but firefighters also tended to take longer to recover as the season progressed. Keith Ridler, The Seattle Times, "Study shows wild-land firefighters suffer health, reaction-time declines," 2 Sep. 2018 The rally has sparked worries that demand may falter, and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies appear to be reacting to that idea with the first offer to boost output since January 2017. Staff And Wire Services, Houston Chronicle, "Oil dives as OPEC signals plan to boost supplies," 25 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

As private-sector job growth falters, the clamor for quotas builds. Sadanand Dhume, WSJ, "India’s Ethnic Quotas Are a Cautionary Tale," 24 Jan. 2019 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

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.

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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 and Noun

Middle English

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Learn More about falter

Dictionary Entries near falter

Falster

falsum

faltboat

falter

falus

fam

Fama

Statistics for falter

Last Updated

14 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for falter

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

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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 How to pronounce falter (audio) \
faltered; faltering

Kids Definition of falter

1 : to move unsteadily : waver
2 : to hesitate in speech
3 : to hesitate in purpose or action

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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

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