Definition of hesitate
1 : to hold back in doubt or indecision She didn't hesitate when they offered her the job.
2 : to delay momentarily : pause He hesitated and waited for her to say something.
3 : stammer
: to hold back from (doing or saying something) in doubt or uncertainty Don't hesitate to call if you need something.
hesitatinglyplay \ˈhe-zə-ˌtā-tiŋ-lē\ adverb
Examples of hesitate in a Sentence
She hesitated and waited for her friend to say something.
He hesitated about accepting the job.
I sometimes hesitate to say what I am really thinking.
I hesitated to come without being asked.
I wouldn't hesitate to ask for your help if I felt I needed it.
Don't hesitate to call if there is a problem.
Recent Examples of hesitate from the Web
Macron has become a prominent spokesman for political moderates around the world and has not hesitated to publicly challenge Trump — or to try to dominate their six-second handshake as television cameras recorded their physical struggle for power.
People who can afford the market-rate apartments often hesitate to live in mixed-income buildings if the share of affordable units rises above 20%, McClure said.
Philando Castile was a law-abiding gun owner and the gun lobby has never hesitated to gin up fury over even the perception of someone infringing on the rights of gun owners.
The coalition does not seek to fight [the] Syrian regime, Russian, or pro-regime forces partnered with them, but will not hesitate to defend coalition or partner forces from any threat.
The coalition does not seek to fight Syrian regime, Russian, or pro-regime forces partnered with them, but will not hesitate to defend coalition or partner forces from any threat.
The Cleveland Cavaliers star didn’t hesitate when asked by The Associated Press who his dream teammates would be for the Tokyo Games.
The SEC Network analyst and former Alabama quarterback didn't hesitate.
Former Pirate Neil Walker was credited with an RBI triple after right fielder Gregory Polanco hesitated, dove and missed Walker's sharp liner, which rolled all the way to the wall.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hesitate'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology of hesitate
Latin haesitatus, past participle of haesitare to stick fast, hesitate, frequentative of haerēre to stick
First Known Use: 1598See Words from the same year
Synonym Discussion of hesitate
HESITATE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of hesitate for English Language Learners
: to stop briefly before you do something especially because you are nervous or unsure about what to do
: to be unwilling to do something because of doubt or uncertainty
HESITATE Defined for Kids
Definition of hesitate for Students
1 : to pause before doing something He hesitated before crossing the stream.
2 : to be unwilling to do something because of doubt or nervousness Don't hesitate to ask for help.
Seen and Heard
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