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

Keep scrolling for more

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

On top of that, Bernard has proven himself a capable runner, too, meaning Lazor and Marvin Lewis can turn to the nominal backup without hesitation if Mixon falters again. Michael Beller, SI.com, "High-Risk, High-Reward Players for the 2018 Fantasy Football Season," 10 July 2018 When Iowa Republican Party Chairman Jeff Kaufmann asked more than 1,100 delegates a defining question — who was still behind President Donald Trump? — there was no hesitation. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump’s Trade War Is a Big Problem for Republicans in Politically Pivotal Iowa," 6 July 2018 But the facts are presented here clearly, without hesitation. Julie Hinds, Detroit Free Press, "'Detroit: Comeback City' documentary is personal, and that's a good thing," 1 July 2018 City officials say the smaller geographic footprint means its staff is more familiar with streets and landmarks in Coral Springs and neighboring Parkland and can be directed to scenes without hesitation. Megan O'matz, Sun-Sentinel.com, "First 911 calls reveal further confusion in Parkland shooting response," 26 June 2018 After a moment of hesitation, Achilles chose the Russian plate, the Associated Press reports. Mahita Gajanan, Time, "Russia's 'Psychic' Cat Achilles Predicts the World Cup 2018 Opening Match Winner," 13 June 2018 But every so often there were flashes of hesitation. Anna Silman, The Cut, "7 Women on Getting Pete-and-Ariana-ed by Their Exes," 12 June 2018 There was an air of hesitation as guests arrived on the red carpet. Lauren Sanchez, Vogue, "A Séance Gone Bad: Hereditary’s New York City Premiere Was All Screams and Shouts," 6 June 2018 Although Thursday’s vote was unanimous, commission President Michael Picker expressed a note of hesitation about San Diego Gas & Electric Co.’s incentive program from at-home charging stations. David R. Baker, San Francisco Chronicle, "California approves spending $768 million on electric vehicles," 31 May 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.

See More

First Known Use of hesitation

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about hesitation

Share hesitation

Dictionary Entries near hesitation





hesitation form



Phrases Related to hesitation

without hesitation

Statistics for hesitation

Last Updated

6 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hesitation

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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).


by word of mouth

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!