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



Definition of falter (Entry 2 of 2)

: an act or instance of faltering

Other Words from falter


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

Synonyms & Antonyms for falter

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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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 In fact, data shows that 18% of businesses fail after the first year, and almost 50% of businesses falter after 10 years. Expert Panel®, Forbes, 3 Aug. 2022 Yes, out of the dark night of the soul – God was there even when Peter’s faith seemed to falter. Terry Pluto, cleveland, 31 July 2022 With a 19-point lead to work with, the RezBombers didn’t falter in the second half and won by the same margin to end the game. Jenna Ortiz, The Arizona Republic, 23 July 2022 Remind yourself of your goals and don't falter now! Chicago Tribune, 16 July 2022 Effective company leaders never falter or shy away from mentoring obligations. Peter Weedfald, Forbes, 30 June 2022 Valastro's skill paired with his vision didn't falter — his life-size dragon cake is what ultimately beat Duff Goldman in the finale. Antonia Debianchi, PEOPLE.com, 10 June 2022 Even though Phoenix's opponent found more offensive success in the second half, Schantz's squad did not falter. Drew Schott, The Arizona Republic, 9 Apr. 2022 For years, investors valued Facebook’s parent company as if its growth would never falter. BostonGlobe.com, 27 June 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun That’s causing some big companies, including Walmart and Best Buy, to warn investors that sales are beginning to falter. Nitasha Tiku, Washington Post, 7 Aug. 2022 Rolex only works with winners—even, or especially, when those winners (think Tiger Woods) falter in their careers. Victoria Gomelsky, Robb Report, 4 Aug. 2022 At the same time, Trump has seen some of his endorsed primary candidates falter. Jill Colvin, BostonGlobe.com, 9 July 2022 However, all five of these apps, chosen for their outsize popularity, falter when compared with more secure options like Euki and Drip, as corroborated by Consumer Reports. Wired, 21 July 2022 Airline staff are demanding higher pay and better working conditions, with some cabin crew and pilots going on strike as negotiations falter. Nicholas Gordon, Fortune, 20 July 2022 And despite recent military gains in the east Mr. Putin could face long-term domestic pressure should his war effort falter and the economy worsen. Ann M. Simmons, WSJ, 3 June 2022 That message is a tougher sell while the frenzy in digital assets cools and markets falter. Francesca Fontana, WSJ, 18 June 2022 The body’s own defenses against lead, a volley of enzymes meant to avoid tissue damage, falter and eventually turn against the body itself. Michael J. Coren, Quartz, 16 June 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of falter


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


1834, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for falter

Verb and Noun

Middle English

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Time Traveler for falter

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

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Last Updated

13 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Falter.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/falter. Accessed 16 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for falter


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

More from Merriam-Webster on falter

Nglish: Translation of falter for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of falter for Arabic Speakers


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