hes·​i·​tan·​cy | \ˈhe-zə-tən(t)-sē \
plural hesitancies

Definition of hesitancy 

1 : the quality or state of being hesitant: such as

a : indecision

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

The primary reason for the hesitancy is the fear that pot-friendly hotels will scare away guests with children in tow or business travelers who are paying with a corporate expense account. Hugo Martin, latimes.com, "Full vending machines. Pot on the pillow. What some California hotels are doing to attract marijuana smokers," 22 June 2018 According to the Mirror, Inter have yet to take up the option of making their loan deal a permanent one and United are eager to put themselves in the hunt for the 23-year-old following the Italian club's hesitancy to pay the hefty transfer fee. SI.com, "Report: Man United Eyes Deal for Valencia Defender Joao Cancelo," 26 May 2018 Donnelly has been careful to not be too critical of the president, but has not shown the same hesitancy about his No. Maureen Groppe, Indianapolis Star, "Trump planning trip to Indiana days after May 8 primary, source says," 2 May 2018 Consumers just need good, unbiased information, and a willingness to overcome any family hesitancy about unconventional choices. David Sloane, BostonGlobe.com, "Is the cemetery dead?," 12 May 2018 There are signs, however, that this hesitancy might be coming to an end -- and not a moment too soon. Bloomberg.com, "Gerrymandering Is a Bipartisan Pastime: View," 28 Dec. 2017 Council did not act Wednesday on Kenney’s proposal to increase the property-tax rate; members have expressed their hesitancy to raise property taxes. Laura Mccrystal, Philly.com, "City Council tweaks mayor's tax proposal, voices need for greater property-tax relief," 23 May 2018 Thuenen's only hesitancy was the significant price increase for tickets year, especially for full event and VIP passes. Kellie Hwang, azcentral, "Phoenix Comic Fest changes include metal detectors, prop weapons policy, wristbands," 21 May 2018 Kaidi Yuan, a 21-year-old junior, said that fellow Chinese students and incoming freshmen were expressing concerns about Tyndall on WeChat, a messaging app popular in China, but that there was a cultural hesitancy about speaking publicly. Melissa Etehad, latimes.com, "USC's aggressive recruiting of Chinese students faces challenge amid gynecologist scandal," 18 May 2018

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

The first known use of hesitancy was in 1617

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More Definitions for hesitancy


hes·​i·​tan·​cy | \ˈhe-zə-tən-sē \

Kids Definition of hesitancy

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on hesitancy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hesitancy

Spanish Central: Translation of hesitancy

Nglish: Translation of hesitancy for Spanish Speakers

Comments on hesitancy

What made you want to look up hesitancy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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