hes·​i·​ta·​tion | \ ˌhe-zə-ˈtā-shən \

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

Sandberg’s message, set forth in a commencement speech at Barnard College in 2011 and fleshed out more fully in Lean In, was simple but ambitious: Women should pursue their professional goals without hesitation or apology. Anna North, Vox, "How Facebook’s scandals are hurting Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In brand," 17 Dec. 2018 This hesitation has existed despite the fact that the individual steps involved in human gene editing have all been worked out. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Scientists, ethicists slam decisions behind gene-edited twins," 30 Nov. 2018 Bring your desires forward without a trace of hesitation. Bess Matassa, Teen Vogue, "Monthly Lovescopes September 2018," 1 Sep. 2018 Despite her hesitation, Camila truly DELIVERED on stage with a beautiful performance. Yerin Kim, Seventeen, "Camila Cabello Performs Beautiful Ballad for the First Time Ever at the 2018 AMAs," 10 Oct. 2018 The Mariners’ hesitation about not pushing for an extension with Cruz was due largely to the uncertainty of the direction the organization wants to go with its roster construction. Ryan Divish, The Seattle Times, "Nelson Cruz headlines group of seven Mariners that are now free agents," 29 Oct. 2018 Volvo has kept the control weights low, and there's little slack or hesitation in the steering. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "Volvo’s new V60 is proof the station wagon must never die," 17 Oct. 2018 Fenerbahce are now favourites to sign Meyer after initial hesitation, with the German's agent in talks with the club. SI.com, "Max Meyer Could Move to Turkey After Being Rejected By Liverpool and Arsenal Due to Wage Demands," 13 July 2018 There is little hesitation about dumping a brand app that is slow, crashes, has a poor layout, doesn’t offer exclusive sales or promotions, or pushes too many notifications. New York Times, "Mobile Apps Are Musts for Most Brands, as Long as Users Like Them," 17 June 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

11 Jan 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).


a complex dispute or argument

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