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

  3. 2 :  to delay momentarily :  pause

  4. 3 :  stammer

  5. transitive verb
  6. :  to hold back from in doubt or uncertainty <wouldn't hesitate to commit herself>

hesitater

noun

hesitatingly

play \-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.

Origin and Etymology of hesitate

Latin haesitatus, past participle of haesitare to stick fast, hesitate, frequentative of haerēre to stick


First Known Use: 1598

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 hes·i·tate \ˈhe-zə-ˌtāt\

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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