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

To see that burst back and that lack of hesitation, with a little more confidence, that was great to see. Ryan Kartje, Los Angeles Times, "Markese Stepp and Stephen Carr poised for more opportunities in USC’s offense," 5 Aug. 2019 Ten of the party’s nearly two dozen presidential candidates stood on a debate stage last month and, without hesitation, raised their hands pledging themselves to the policy shift. James Freeman, WSJ, "Democrats Will Stop Raising their Hands," 10 July 2019 Klay expects to receive a full max offer without any hesitation. Mark Medina, The Mercury News, "Warriors mailbag: What’s the latest on Kevin Durant’s future?," 28 June 2019 In the clip — hilariously set to a commentator voice-over — Kaavia enters the water face down without hesitation, while holding on to small flotation devices in either hand. Jen Juneau, PEOPLE.com, "Dwyane Wade Shares Clip of Daughter Kaavia, 8 Months, Expertly Swimming with Her Head Underwater," 19 July 2019 Erik was always willing to lend a helping hand without hesitation. courant.com, "Erik Marshall Ryerson," 5 June 2019 As the experimenter moved the high and low pitches closer together, making the perceptual task more difficult, Natua would sometimes, after an interval of hesitation, choose to press the opt-out paddle. Thomas Nagel, The New York Review of Books, "Known Unknowns," 18 Apr. 2019 But a committed Everettian should have no hesitation about doing so using the quantum splitter. Quanta Magazine, "Why the Many-Worlds Interpretation Has Many Problems," 18 Oct. 2018 Without hesitation, players and coaches believe that their fans will be a key factor in their quest to reach a ninth Gold Cup final. Drake Hills, azcentral, "Mexico expects home crowd for Gold Cup semifinal against Haiti at State Farm Stadium," 1 July 2019

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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Dictionary Entries near hesitation





hesitation form



Statistics for hesitation

Last Updated

9 Aug 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 period when something is suspended

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