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

Source: Wall Street Journal analysis of FactSet intraday trading data When local share prices falter, one of these people says, Mr. Rumayyan tells deputies to start buying. Justin Scheck, WSJ, "Saudi Arabia Pumps Up Stock Market After Bad News, Including Khashoggi Murder," 13 Dec. 2018 Root succeeds where that game faltered due to a more consolidated set of common mechanisms. Charlie Theel, Ars Technica, "Root is a terrific—and fully asymmetric—woodland wargame," 29 Sep. 2018 There’s the former Vezina-winning goalie who faltered down the stretch only to regain his form and dish out back-to-back shutouts in the biggest games of his career. The Si Staff, SI.com, "Stanley Cup Final Preview: Top Storylines to Watch for in the Final," 25 May 2018 In the series clincher, the Aztecs (23-13) scored all nine runs over the game’s first three innings, then let the pitching that faltered a night earlier shut down the Titans (17-17). Kirk Kenney, sandiegouniontribune.com, "College baseball wrapup: Aztecs take series vs. Fullerton; Toreros lose series vs. Saint Mary's; UCSD, PLNU both sweep," 15 Apr. 2018 In between, other prodigies have won attention by seeming ready to lead where elders faltered. Ann Hulbert, Time, "What Parents Can Learn From Steve Jobs and Bill Gates About Raising a Prodigy," 10 Jan. 2018 On top of that, Bernard has proven himself a capable runner, too, meaning Lazor and Marvin Lewis can turn to the nominal backup without hesitation if Mixon falters again. Michael Beller, SI.com, "High-Risk, High-Reward Players for the 2018 Fantasy Football Season," 10 July 2018 There were signs, however, that enthusiasm for Ocasio-Cortez's brand of progressivism have faltered lately, even on her home turf. Gregg Re, Fox News, "Ocasio-Cortez: 'Medicare for all' would save 'very large amount of money,' despite studies showing $30T cost," 16 Sep. 2018 Here, Plath implies that Esther’s façade, like her bodice, is faltering, and The Bell Jar promises to reveal what’s underneath. Kelly Coyne, The Atlantic, "The Literary Insights of Sylvia Plath’s College Thesis," 22 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

22 Mar 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

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