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

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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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Both reiterated Giles' demotion was necessitated by an ERA hovering near 5, and a seemingly broken slider that is not receiving many swings and misses. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Astros demote reliever Ken Giles to Fresno," 12 July 2018 Some people fled to rooftops and balconies and waved furiously at hovering rescue helicopters. Yuri Kageyama, USA TODAY, "Dozens dead, more than 90 reported missing as heavy rain hits Japan," 7 July 2018 But the southern resident whales, whose numbers hover below 100, are considered endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Pacific Northwest Orca Population Hits 30-Year-Low," 10 July 2018 Temperatures hovered in the mid- to high-90s on Sunday. Andrea Castillo, latimes.com, "'I have happy tears,' Goleta resident says after finding his home survived destructive wildfire," 9 July 2018 The gap between yields on two- and 10-year Treasurys, one measure of the yield curve, hovered Monday below 0.3 percentage point, near 11-year lows. Daniel Kruger, WSJ, "U.S. Government Bonds Fall With Treasury Auctions on Tap," 9 July 2018 When an 18-year-old rookie Barkov played with Scottie Upshall and Boyes, or with Tomas Fleischmann and Boyes, the lines hovered around 45 percent in some possession statistics. Matthew Defranks, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Does it matter who Panthers center Aleksander Barkov's linemates are?," 6 July 2018 Your back knee should hover right above the pool deck. Julie Mazziotta, PEOPLE.com, "Cool Down as the Temperatures Heat Up With This Pool Workout — No Backstroke Required," 3 July 2018 From Above Helicopters and drones hovered overhead searching for heat signatures and other signs of life, while police and soldiers rummaged through the jungle for chimneys that could provide an alternative entry point. Time, "A Youth Soccer Team Has Been Trapped in a Thai Cave for More Than a Week. Here's Why It's Taking So Long to Find Them," 2 July 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.

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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

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Statistics for hover

Last Updated

15 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hover

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

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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

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