hov·er | \ ˈhə-vər , ˈhä- \
hovered; hovering\ˈhə-v(ə-)riŋ, ˈhä- \

Definition of hover 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

: to position (a computer cursor) over something (such as an image or icon) without selecting it Many in the class hovered their cursors over words and icons for long periods before committing to clicking their mouse. —Kelly Heyboer

intransitive verb

1a : to hang fluttering in the air or on the wing A hawk hovered overhead.

b : to remain suspended over a place or object a hummingbird hovering over the flowers Helicopters hovered above us.

2a : to move to and fro near a place : fluctuate around a given point Unemployment hovered around 10 percent.

b : to be in a state of uncertainty, irresolution, or suspense hovering uncomfortably behind a cigar … —Tennessee Williams The country hovers on the brink of famine.


plural hovers

Definition of hover (Entry 2 of 2)

: the act or state of hovering in the air Ospreys were most successful hunting from a hover and spent more of their hunting time doing it that way. —John P. Wiley Jr. After a careful check outside to ensure that his flight path was clear, one of the pilots lifted his helicopter to a hover, then maneuvered to the middle of the valley. —Breck Henderson

Keep scrolling for more

Other words from hover


hoverer \ˈhə-vər-ər, ˈhä- \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for hover

Synonyms: Verb

drift, float, glide, hang, poise, ride, sail, swim, waft

Antonyms: Verb

settle, sink

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of hover in a Sentence


Watch as the hummingbird hovers over the flowers. Bees hovered around the hive. Waiters hovered near our table. nervous mothers hovering over their children Unemployment rates were hovering around 10 percent. Temperatures will continue to hover around freezing. The patient was hovering between life and death. The country hovers on the brink of famine.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Among all the talk of black bloods and gray skins and realms, there’s also the threat of a bizarre, surprise epidemic hovering over heroine Talon (Jessica Green). refinery29.com, "All The Best Post-Apocalyptic TV Shows You Can Watch," 11 July 2018 Read More Video shows Topeka police shooting man in the back; D.A. says no charges to be filed Kagay said that the shooting was justified in part because White's hand had hovered over a pocket that contained a gun. Joe Robertson, kansascity, "No 'cause or provocation': Father sues Topeka police for killing his son," 28 June 2018 Higher oil prices mean the price of gasoline in America is hovering around $3 a gallon, just as Americans take to the road for the holidays. The Economist, "The American president is stirring up trouble in a volatile oil market," 4 July 2018 The average gas price is hovering around $2.90 a gallon nationally with prices in some states well over $3 per gallon. Hallie Detrick, Fortune, "We're In for the Highest 4th of July Gas Prices Since 2014. Here's Why," 3 July 2018 Meanwhile, helicopters from news outlets and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department hovered above, capturing aerial views of the action. Dave Quinn, PEOPLE.com, "XXXTentacion's Impromptu Memorial Shut Down by Police as Crowd Turns to Chaos," 20 June 2018 Standing on rooftops, others pumped their fists into the air as a television news helicopter hovered above. Alene Tchekmedyian, latimes.com, "Boisterous crowd blocks roadway in Fairfax area during memorial for slain rapper XXXTentacion," 20 June 2018 The rover’s temperature is now hovering at around -20 degrees Fahrenheit. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Massive, ‘Unprecedented’ Dust Storm Puts Mars Rover at Risk," 14 June 2018 The police that night were relying in part on personnel who were in a Sheriff’s Department helicopter that hovered above, and who at one point reported that the suspect had picked up a crowbar. Kayne Rogers And Matt Stevens, New York Times, "Woman Injured by Sacramento Sheriff’s Vehicle at Stephon Clark Protest," 1 Apr. 2018

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


15th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a


1513, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for hover


Middle English hoveren, frequentative of hoven to hover

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about hover

Statistics for hover

Last Updated

17 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hover

The first known use of hover was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for hover


hov·er | \ ˈhə-vər , ˈhä- \
hovered; hovering

Kids Definition of hover

1 : to fly or float in the air without moving far in any direction Bees hovered around the hive.

2 : to stay near a place And Lockhart was hovering around all of them, making suggestions. —J. K. Rowling, Chamber of Secrets

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on hover

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


a magnificent or impressive array

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!