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 The group includes many other congressional members and other progressive activists, some who wrote about their initial hesitation in joining the Biden working groups. Caitlin Conant, CBS News, "2020 Daily Trail Markers: 20 million more now eligible for Obamacare coverage," 13 May 2020 In Britain, the most obvious misstep by Boris Johnson’s government was its hesitation to implement a national lockdown to slow the spread of the virus. Sam Knight, The New Yorker, "The Comforting and Misleading Political Response to Britain’s Coronavirus Disaster," 5 May 2020 The need for nurses became so urgent that the Red Cross reversed its previous hesitation to deploy black nurses. New York Times, "How the Spanish Flu Almost Upended Women's Suffrage," 28 Apr. 2020 His hesitation, coupled with the early CDC and FDA debacle on testing, undoubtedly lost crucial time when, soon enough, every day would matter. Nr Editors, National Review, "The Week," 16 Apr. 2020 My hesitation is, in addition to the public works, to my knowledge, no community of our size has incorporated. Jeff Forward, Houston Chronicle, "Woodlands board OKs interim tax rate for incorporation," 28 Feb. 2020 The Granit Xhaka situation that has dominated Arsenal media coverage all week was at least in part down to his hesitation in announcing the Swiss international as his captain, while the Gunners still look defensively meagre, and poor away from home. SI.com, "Why Mesut Ozil Must Start for Arsenal Against Wolves," 1 Nov. 2019 For families, regardless of whether a patient recovers, the shame can persist—and with it hesitation to speak up and lobby for funding. Jennifer Couzin-frankel, Science | AAAS, "Rethinking anorexia: Biology may be more important than culture, new studies reveal," 9 Apr. 2020 The data, from the U.S. Census Bureau, could reflect any number of hesitations or distractions. Chris Morris, Fortune, "2020 U.S. Census response rate is far below 2010—here’s how to fix that," 1 Apr. 2020

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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Time Traveler for hesitation

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for hesitation

Last Updated

16 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Hesitation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hesitation. Accessed 25 May. 2020.

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