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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Utes have had some trouble finishing on vault this year but didn’t falter Saturday, scoring 49.3875 led by a 9.9875 from Jaedyn Rucker and a 9.9375 from Alexia Burch. The Salt Lake Tribune, 17 Apr. 2021 Schauffele steadied himself, but his playing partner in the final group didn't falter at all. Paul Newberry, ajc, 12 Apr. 2021 The doctor, who died of covid-19 on Jan. 3 at the age of 95, did not falter. Washington Post, 1 Mar. 2021 This was the hard way, more ground to cover, but Ruth didn’t falter. William Finnegan, The New Yorker, 15 May 2021 Most pressing, Jackson said, the school's 1960s-era facilities have started to falter. Alden Woods, The Arizona Republic, 24 Apr. 2021 What to watch: The Cardinal were the surprise team in the conference early on, only to falter late and play its way back to the bubble by losing seven of their last 11. Michelle Gardner, The Arizona Republic, 21 Nov. 2010 The pandemic isn’t over, of course, and demand for flights could still falter if the pace of vaccinations drops or new variants of the coronavirus emerge and undermine the effectiveness of vaccines. New York Times, 22 Apr. 2021 The story would falter without making a connection with its audience. Expert Panel, Forbes, 20 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Determination and drive falter as a matter of course. Mary Juetten, Forbes, 4 May 2021 And ABC News' Ines De La Cuetara joins us from Paris where COVID-19 continues to surge while vaccinations falter. Averi Harper, ABC News, 16 Apr. 2021 As government websites falter and official communication is less than clear about the process, tips and tricks for how to get a shot in your arm are some of the hottest gossip on the market. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, 7 Apr. 2021 The dollar continues to gain ground as equities falter. Fortune, 5 Mar. 2021 Anthony, played by Anthony Hopkins, is an 80-year-old man whose memory is beginning to falter. Los Angeles Times, 21 Apr. 2021 And today, outside groups are building pressure with grassroots activists to not let the issue falter. Philip Elliott, Time, 2 Mar. 2021 PitchBook said initial public offerings in the Bay Area also set a record with 67, led by Airbnb, which saw its business falter and then recover during the pandemic. Roland Li, SFChronicle.com, 11 Jan. 2021 His homecoming could mean more to Jaguars fans eager to see their team falter in its final two games. Mark Long, orlandosentinel.com, 26 Dec. 2020

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


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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for falter

Last Updated

2 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Falter.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/falter. Accessed 12 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for falter



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


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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