verb hov·er \ ˈhə-vər , ˈhä- \
|Updated on: 11 Jun 2018

Definition of hover

hovered; hovering play \ˈhə-v(ə-)riŋ, ˈhä-\
: 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
1 a : 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.
2 a : 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.


play \ˈhə-vər-ər, ˈhä-\ noun

Examples of hover in a Sentence

  1. Watch as the hummingbird hovers over the flowers.

  2. Bees hovered around the hive.

  3. Waiters hovered near our table.

  4. nervous mothers hovering over their children

  5. Unemployment rates were hovering around 10 percent.

  6. Temperatures will continue to hover around freezing.

  7. The patient was hovering between life and death.

  8. The country hovers on the brink of famine.

Recent Examples of hover from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of hover

Middle English hoveren, frequentative of hoven to hover

hover Synonyms


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


settle, sink;

Near Antonyms

dive, lunge, plunge;

dip, immerse, submerge, submerse;

Related Words

bob, dangle, suspend;


balloon, raft;




Definition of hover

plural hovers
: 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

First Known Use of hover


in the meaning defined above

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HOVER Defined for Kids


verb hov·er \ ˈhə-vər , ˈhä- \

Definition of hover for Students

hovered; hovering
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

Seen and Heard

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widely and unfavorably known

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