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

Like Ford, Hyundai opened a new plant, its eighth for passenger cars in China, in 2017, only to see sales falter that year and this. WSJ, "China’s Car Slump Leaves Foreign Auto Makers With Idle Factories," 25 Dec. 2018 An analyst said that, as SolarCity's sales have faltered, large regional solar installers have picked up the bulk of the slack. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "Tesla’s SolarCity lost ground to Sunrun in 2018," 21 Dec. 2018 Then there is the hemline-index theory that claims that skirts and dresses get longer when the economy falters. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Let Us Reconsider the Long Skirt," 21 Dec. 2018 Four of the past five World Cups have now seen the champion falter in the group stage, with Spain four years ago, Italy in 2010, and France in 2002. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "With champion Germany out, who's the World Cup 'favorite' now?," 27 June 2018 While the storytelling falters in some parts and digresses in others — like the abrupt shift of focus to a young village widow (Zeng Meihuizi) in the final third — Pluto Moment offers substantial drama and gripping images aplenty. Clarence Tsui, The Hollywood Reporter, "'The Pluto Moment' ('Ming Wang Xing Shi Ke'): Film Review | Cannes 2018," 23 May 2018 With an array of forces and interests in play, diplomatic efforts have repeatedly faltered. Asa Fitch, WSJ, "Fragile Yemen Cease-Fire Takes Hold After U.S. Push," 18 Dec. 2018 Instead, coal has faltered because existing coal plants are too expensive to run compared to cheaper natural gas. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "As US coal use drops to 1979 levels, EPA may ease rules on new coal plants," 5 Dec. 2018 While the city’s been struggling to find its footing, some alt-right leaders are faltering. Sarah Rankin, The Seattle Times, "A year after deadly Virginia rally, wounds are still raw," 7 Aug. 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 and Noun

Middle English

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about falter

Dictionary Entries near falter

Falster

falsum

faltboat

falter

falus

fam

Fama

Statistics for falter

Last Updated

11 Jan 2019

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

to gather or build up little by little

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
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!