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

Pelosi’s comments set a high bar for House Dems interested in impeachment, but at least one has pushed back on her hesitancy. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "Nancy Pelosi Says Donald Trump Isn’t Worth Impeaching Because it Could Be Too “Divisive”," 12 Mar. 2019 Seizing on white America’s hesitancy for too much progress too fast, conservative figures quickly moved to reassign blame to blacks for the riots. Vanessa Bee, Daily Intelligencer, "How We Can Get a More Equal Union," 27 Mar. 2018 Executive producer Toni Graphia tells Variety that Jamie isn't pleased with Roger's hesitancy to return to Brianna. Julie Kosin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Outlander Season 5: Everything We Know," 28 Jan. 2019 Practically, this means pitching to Chief Justice Roberts’s particular legal perspective, including what observers see as his hesitancy to overturn precedent. Corinne Ramey, WSJ, "With Kavanaugh on Supreme Court, Lawyers Shift Strategies," 17 Nov. 2018 But advocates of these shuttles believe the attraction of the technology, and the potential value, will overcome any hesitancy. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Small, autonomous shuttles seek to disrupt downtown transit," 12 July 2018 The hesitancy to take on a huge financial burden explains why Boston dropped its bid to host the 2024 Games, and why Los Angeles was seen as one of the few viable candidates for 2028. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Olympics try more city-friendly bid process: Will it work?," 8 Oct. 2018 Who can blame car companies for their hesitancy to leap in with the same enthusiasm as Tesla? Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge, "Electric cars still face a big hurdle: the charging system," 3 Oct. 2018 There’s understandable hesitancy to talk about these problems. German Lopez, Vox, "We need to talk about Brett Kavanaugh and alcohol," 27 Sep. 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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Statistics for hesitancy

Last Updated

30 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 How to pronounce hesitancy (audio) \

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).


a strong desire or propensity

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