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



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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 But only 10% of the hesitant and unvaccinated say their own doctor's advice would make a difference. Anthony Salvanto, Fred Backus, CBS News, 18 July 2021 However, with the country still reeling, many were hesitant to leave home. Tenzin Shakya, ABC News, 16 July 2021 The Dodgers were hesitant to move Price to the rotation from the bullpen, but they were forced to relent when Kershaw got hurt. Los Angeles Times, 16 July 2021 The hope is that swiftly issuing full approval after the EUA would boost vaccination rates in kids under 12 by making hesitant parents feel more reassured that the vaccine is safe for their children, the FDA official said. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, 16 July 2021 The Pelicans haven't officially announced the hire, hence Suns head coach Monty Williams was hesitant to discuss it, but there was a team huddle at the end of Friday's practice at Footprint Center that looked as if Green was being congratulated. Duane Rankin, The Arizona Republic, 16 July 2021 One question is how much coercion to apply to the vaccine hesitant. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 15 July 2021 In Kentucky, the debate has been less heated, though many remain hesitant or skeptical about the COVID-19 vaccine. Deborah Yetter, The Courier-Journal, 14 July 2021 On a recent day at Midway, some hesitant travelers decided to shop elsewhere. Lauren Zumbach, chicagotribune.com, 12 July 2021

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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Time Traveler for hesitant

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The first known use of hesitant was in 1647

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Statistics for hesitant

Last Updated

22 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Hesitant.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hesitant. Accessed 30 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for hesitant



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


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

More from Merriam-Webster on hesitant

Nglish: Translation of hesitant for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hesitant for Arabic Speakers


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