hesitant

adjective
hes·​i·​tant | \ ˈhe-zə-tənt How to pronounce hesitant (audio) \

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

Some people are hesitant about continuing the story. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Will There Be a Third Season of Big Little Lies?," 27 Nov. 2018 Brazilian lawmakers have been hesitant to allow any deal, fearing the loss of control of a major industrial and defense asset. BostonGlobe.com, "Wynn Resorts losing high-profile general counsel," 5 July 2018 Multiple media outlets received copies but were understandably hesitant to publish its contents, which included unproven allegations about Trump and his inner circle. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Anatomy of a Pro-Trump Conspiracy Theory," 22 May 2018 Any new debt supply will likely lead to higher borrowing costs because investors remain hesitant. Paul J. Davies, WSJ, "Good Times Are Turning Bad for Riskiest Borrowers," 15 Jan. 2019 And so all tech companies who have experienced missing out on a platform shift are a little bit hesitant to miss out again. Recode Staff, Recode, "Why ‘Star Wars’ is like a social network, and other insights from Eugene Wei on Recode Media," 13 July 2018 Democrats also have been hesitant to support any policies backed by President Trump. Natalie Andrews, WSJ, "U.S.-Mexico Trade Pact Faces Scrutiny From Lawmakers at Home," 30 Aug. 2018 In the at-home selfie moment, the woman in the couple is hesitant to participate in the photo until she is done applying her makeup. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "Huawei was caught using a pro camera to fake smartphone photos (again)," 20 Aug. 2018 Republicans in the House and Senate introduced bills earlier this month to implement all six suggestions, but legislative leaders have been hesitant to support the measures. Jackie Borchardt, cleveland.com, "Kasich to sign executive order about background checks for gun purchases," 23 Apr. 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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Statistics for hesitant

Last Updated

15 May 2019

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 How to pronounce hesitant (audio) \

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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