hesitate

play
verb hes·i·tate \ˈhe-zə-ˌtāt\

Definition of hesitate

hesitated

;

hesitating

  1. intransitive verb
  2. 1 :  to hold back in doubt or indecision She didn't hesitate when they offered her the job.

  3. 2 :  to delay momentarily :  pause He hesitated and waited for her to say something.

  4. 3 :  stammer

  5. transitive verb
  6. :  to hold back from (doing or saying something) in doubt or uncertainty Don't hesitate to call if you need something.

hesitater

noun

hesitatingly

play \ˈhe-zə-ˌtā-tiŋ-lē\ adverb

Examples of hesitate in a Sentence

  1. She hesitated and waited for her friend to say something.

  2. He hesitated about accepting the job.

  3. I sometimes hesitate to say what I am really thinking.

  4. I hesitated to come without being asked.

  5. I wouldn't hesitate to ask for your help if I felt I needed it.

  6. Don't hesitate to call if there is a problem.

Recent Examples of hesitate from the Web

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

Synonym Discussion of hesitate

hesitate, waver, vacillate, falter mean to show irresolution or uncertainty. hesitate implies a pause before deciding or acting or choosing. hesitated before answering the question waver implies hesitation after seeming to decide and so connotes weakness or a retreat. wavered in his support of the rebels vacillate implies prolonged hesitation from inability to reach a firm decision. vacillated until events were out of control falter implies a wavering or stumbling and often connotes nervousness, lack of courage, or outright fear. never once faltered during her testimony


HESITATE Defined for English Language Learners

hesitate

play
verb

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

hesitate

play
verb hes·i·tate \ˈhe-zə-ˌtāt\

Definition of hesitate for Students

hesitated

;

hesitating

  1. 1 :  to pause before doing something He hesitated before crossing the stream.

  2. 2 :  to be unwilling to do something because of doubt or nervousness Don't hesitate to ask for help.

hesitation

\ˌhez-ə-ˈtā-shən\ noun


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