hes·​i·​ta·​tion | \ ˌhe-zə-ˈtā-shən How to pronounce hesitation (audio) \

Definition of hesitation

1 : an act or instance of hesitating
2 : a pausing or faltering in speech

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Examples of hesitation in a Sentence

one moment's hesitation on my part, and the elusive butterfly was lost to me forever

Recent Examples on the Web

Despite news Friday of growing hesitation at Amazon, state and city officials had the impression the project was still on course. Katie Honan, WSJ, "Amazon Cancels HQ2 Plans in New York City," 15 Feb. 2019 Crawford continues, explaining that any sort of hesitation or awkwardness melted away once the shutter started snapping. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "The American West Has Never Looked Better Than in Acne Studios’s New Images of Cindy Crawford," 25 Sep. 2018 For others, the fear of jumping into a brand-new environment leads to hesitation and inaction. SELF, "7 Tips for Anyone Who Wants to Start Working Out but Doesn't Know Where to Begin," 10 Jan. 2019 Without hesitation, Fowler advanced the throttle and proceeded to fly the aircraft. Chris Clarke, Popular Mechanics, "Super-Rare XP-82 Twin Mustang Flies Again After Decade-Long Restoration," 4 Jan. 2019 Part of the hesitation may be based in practicality. Korin Miller, SELF, "Why Anna Kendrick Was 'Vulnerable and Terrified' While Getting Treated for Kidney Stones," 4 Feb. 2019 Some Democrats have expressed hesitation for a formal censure over comments made in a newspaper interview; the more formal rebuke is generally reserved for lawmakers who violate outlined House conduct. Reid J. Epstein, WSJ, "House Lawmakers Formally Admonish Rep. Steve King for Racist Comments," 15 Jan. 2019 Any hesitations about ordering a mocktail at a bar should be banished, because there are bartenders who enjoy creating them. Michaela Bechler, Vogue, "How to Make Dry January’s Most-Searched Mocktail," 7 Jan. 2019 When different parts of the image are harder to see, the human trainers have to think harder about their judgements of body language, which Perceptive can measure by tracking eye movement and hesitation. Matt Simon, WIRED, "Why Did the Human Cross the Road? To Confuse the Self-Driving Car," 10 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hesitation.' 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 hesitation

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

22 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for hesitation

The first known use of hesitation was in the 14th century

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Comments on hesitation

What made you want to look up hesitation? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to boil down or concentrate

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