hes·​i·​tan·​cy | \ ˈhe-zə-tən(t)-sē How to pronounce hesitancy (audio) \
plural hesitancies

Definition of hesitancy

1 : the quality or state of being hesitant: such as
b : reluctance took that drastic step only with the greatest hesitancy

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Examples of hesitancy in a Sentence

his appointment to the superintendency was confirmed by the school board without the least hesitancy his hesitancy in pulling over into the next lane while he had a chance resulted in him missing his exit
Recent Examples on the Web And there can also be a sense of hesitancy within those communities to take the vaccine. Nic Garcia, Dallas News, "Dallas’ federal COVID vaccine site set to open Wednesday. But registrations, appointments lag in targeted ZIP codes," 23 Feb. 2021 Officials say the poor showing is also due to a lack of Internet access in some households, limited transportation options for vaccine appointments and an array of untrue claims about vaccine safety that has fostered a sense of hesitancy. Washington Post, "Mobile clinics, free rides have done little so far to improve vaccine equity in D.C. region," 19 Feb. 2021 The unprecedented speed with which these vaccines were developed, studied and rolled out appears to be at the crux of hesitancy in this group. NBC News, "Who's getting the Covid vaccination? Often, it's not those who might need it most.," 1 Feb. 2021 But large numbers — especially those who work in nursing homes and outside hospitals, who tend to have higher rates of vaccine hesitancy — are refusing to be immunized. New York Times, "Health Care Unions Find a Voice in the Pandemic," 28 Jan. 2021 Food-services and facilities-management company Sodexo is asking managers to listen for signs of vaccine hesitancy among staff and launching a social-media campaign to encourage employees to get the shots. Chip Cutter, WSJ, "CEOs Confront Employees’ Covid-19 Vaccine Doubts, Going Into Myth-Buster Mode," 25 Jan. 2021 The murmurs of hesitancy that preceded last year’s postponement are already beginning. Tripti Lahiri, Quartz, "Will the Tokyo Olympics actually take place this year?," 11 Jan. 2021 An unusual aspect of COVID vaccine hesitancy in the U.S. is its political dimension, which is not a consideration with other adult vaccines, such as those for influenza or shingles. Claudia Wallis, Scientific American, "The Best Evidence for How to Overcome COVID Vaccine Fears," 7 Jan. 2021 The combination of Madlib’s prolific output and his hesitancy to talk about it has turned him into a cult favorite. Hua Hsu, The New Yorker, "The Obsessive Beat-Making of Madlib," 18 Jan. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hesitancy.' 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 hesitancy

1617, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for hesitancy

Time Traveler

The first known use of hesitancy was in 1617

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Statistics for hesitancy

Last Updated

27 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Hesitancy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hesitancy. Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for hesitancy


hes·​i·​tan·​cy | \ ˈhe-zə-tən-sē How to pronounce hesitancy (audio) \

Kids Definition of hesitancy

: the quality or state of being unwilling to do something because of doubt or nervousness

More from Merriam-Webster on hesitancy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hesitancy

Nglish: Translation of hesitancy for Spanish Speakers

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