falter

1 of 2

verb

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

intransitive verb

1
a
: to walk unsteadily : stumble
the … stranger falters out of the thicket and drops to his kneesDudley 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
3
a
: 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
falterer noun
falteringly adverb

falter

2 of 2

noun

: an act or instance of faltering
Choose the Right Synonym for falter

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
Advertisement The team faltered against Willamette in the first game of their NCAA Regional, amplifying doubts about potential postseason success. Anthony De Leon, Los Angeles Times, 30 May 2024 Their relationship falters, however, after the Captain goes to oversee The Hamlet, and loses contact with Sofia. Carly Tagen-Dye, Peoplemag, 27 May 2024
Noun
Some are closing locations to cut costs as revenue falters. Francisco Velasquez, Quartz, 27 May 2024 Voters, for example, may turn against a government that—having set high expectations—falters in protecting expansive versions of the country’s interests and honor. Rohan Mukherjee, Foreign Affairs, 4 Apr. 2024 See all Example Sentences for falter 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'falter.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Verb and Noun

Middle English

First Known Use

Verb

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

Noun

1834, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near falter

Cite this Entry

“Falter.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/falter. Accessed 14 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

falter

verb
fal·​ter
ˈfȯl-tər
faltered; faltering
ˈfȯl-t(ə-)riŋ
1
: to move unsteadily : waver
2
: to stumble or hesitate in speech : stammer entry 1
her voice faltered
3
: to hesitate in purpose or action
courage that never falters
falter noun
falterer
-tər-ər
noun
falteringly
-t(ə-)riŋ-lē
adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on falter

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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