hesitant

adjective
hes·​i·​tant | \ˈhe-zə-tənt \

Definition of hesitant 

: slow to act or proceed (as from fear, indecision, or unwillingness) : tending to hesitate : showing or feeling reluctance or hesitation took a hesitant step towards the door hesitant about accepting the job

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Other Words from hesitant

hesitantly adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for hesitant

Synonyms

cagey (also cagy), disinclined, dubious, indisposed, loath (also loth), reluctant, reticent

Antonyms

disposed, inclined

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Choose the Right Synonym for hesitant

disinclined, hesitant, reluctant, loath, averse mean lacking the will or desire to do something indicated. disinclined implies lack of taste for or inclination. disinclined to move again disinclined for reading hesitant implies a holding back especially through fear or uncertainty. hesitant about asking for a date reluctant implies a holding back through unwillingness. a reluctant witness loath implies hesitancy because of conflict with one's opinions, predilections, or liking. seems loath to trust anyone averse implies a holding back from or avoiding because of distaste or repugnance. averse to hard work not averse to an occasional drink

Examples of hesitant in a Sentence

She took a hesitant step back from the door. He seems hesitant about accepting the job.

Recent Examples on the Web

Italy’s gross domestic product fell by an annualized 0.5% in the third quarter, due largely to a steep drop in business investment as well as more hesitant spending by consumers. Paul Hannon, WSJ, "Italy Tries to End Budget Fight With EU as Economy Teeters on Recession," 5 Dec. 2018 Reaching vaccine-hesitant parents isn’t easy, however. Julia Belluz, Vox, "New York’s Orthodox Jewish community is battling measles outbreaks. Vaccine deniers are to blame.," 9 Nov. 2018 Since both areas were once Islamic State strongholds, Mr. Sayyed is hesitant to show his ID at checkpoints surrounding the camp, fearing that he will be accused of supporting the extremist group. Hwaida Saad, New York Times, "Memories Lost and Futures on Hold: A Look Inside a Camp for Syria’s Displaced," 11 July 2018 With a hesitant blessing (the former owners did not want to sell) and box of original jazz recordings, Club Waziema opened in 1999, serving as one the few very bars for Divis denizens. Shakirah Simley, Bon Appetit, "The Harlem of the West: What’s to Become of The Fillmore?," 6 June 2018 But that kind of work often isn’t covered by copays yet, so many doctors are still hesitant to adopt the tech for fear of angering patients. Megan Molteni, WIRED, "This Digital Pill Prototype Uses Bacteria to Sense Stomach Bleeding," 24 May 2018 Neighboring Djibouti, which diplomats said was initially hesitant to back the lifting of sanctions because of the potential economic competition from Eritrea’s Red Sea access, now supports the resolution. Julia Steers, WSJ, "United Nations Lifts Sanctions on ‘Africa’s North Korea’," 14 Nov. 2018 Even though many of the local Mexican-American families were hesitant to provide testimonies out of a credible fear of losing their jobs or being deported, the plaintiffs were able to build a strong case. Mariana Viera, Teen Vogue, "How Méndez vs. Westminster Helped End Segregated Schools for Latinx Children in 1940s California," 12 Oct. 2018 Now the team, led by Professor of Computer Vision Paul Rosin, is asking for more texts too fragile to be opened, hoping to ease the burden on historical researchers hesitant to examine the frangible objects. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Researchers Used X-Rays to Read This 400-Year-Old Burnt Up Scroll," 4 Oct. 2018

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

1647, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for hesitant

see hesitate

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Learn More about hesitant

Statistics for hesitant

Last Updated

11 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hesitant

The first known use of hesitant was in 1647

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More Definitions for hesitant

hesitant

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of hesitant

: slow to act or speak especially because you are nervous or unsure about what to do : feeling or showing hesitation

hesitant

adjective
hes·​i·​tant | \ˈhe-zə-tənt \

Kids Definition of hesitant

: feeling or showing unwillingness to do something because of doubt or nervousness I was hesitant to join in.

Other Words from hesitant

hesitantly adverb Toby read … hesitantly, as if he didn't really believe what he was saying … — Zilpha Keatley Snyder, The Egypt Game

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More from Merriam-Webster on hesitant

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hesitant

Spanish Central: Translation of hesitant

Nglish: Translation of hesitant for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hesitant for Arabic Speakers

Comments on hesitant

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