hov·​er | \ ˈhə-vər How to pronounce hover (audio) , ˈhä- How to pronounce hover (audio) \
hovered; hovering\ ˈhə-​v(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce hovering (audio) , 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 How to pronounce hoverer (audio) , 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

The index has hovered near its highest levels since November as investors have focused on signs of slowing growth in Europe. Daniel Kruger, WSJ, "U.S. Dollar Strengthens After Powell Suggests Soft Inflation Is Transitory," 1 May 2019 Video from a news helicopter showed the armored vehicle nudging closer to the car as a drone hovered near the motorist’s front windshield. Jeff Martin, The Seattle Times, "Police standoff on an Atlanta-area freeway halts traffic," 29 Mar. 2019 Homeownership among Americans in their 20s and 30s is hovering near a three-decade low. Natalie Kitroeff, New York Times, "How Student Debt Can Ruin Home Buying Dreams," 25 May 2018 So far this year, the team is a smoldering wreck, hovering near last place in the division and getting kicked around by the worst clubs in baseball. Steve Lopez, latimes.com, "Dodgers done them wrong, and they're still in love but oh so blue," 19 May 2018 When the game began at 7 p.m. Wednesday night in Charlotte, the temperature outside hovered near 80. Sam Donnellon, Philly.com, "With 128 saves over 2 nights for Phantoms, Alex Lyon is proving his mettle," 10 May 2018 Job openings, at 6.1 million, hovered near an all-time high in February but hires of 5.5 million continued to lag as employers struggled to find workers with unemployment at a 17-year-low of 4.1%. Paul Davidson, USA TODAY, "Will inflation heat up or warm slowly? April reports highlight the week's economic news," 7 May 2018 Or Tesla is attracting enough new preorders to keep the number hovering near the half million mark. Sean O'kane, The Verge, "Tesla earned and burned a record amount of cash in most recent quarter," 2 May 2018 The gown hovered just above the floor, showing off blush satin shoes with a crystal buckle. Carrie Goldberg, Harper's BAZAAR, "Mandy Moore Got Married in The Most Stunning Pink Wedding Look," 19 Nov. 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

14 May 2019

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



English Language Learners Definition of hover

: to float in the air without moving in any direction
: to stay very close to a person or place
: to stay near a specified point or level


hov·​er | \ ˈhə-vər How to pronounce hover (audio) , 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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More from Merriam-Webster on hover

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hover

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hover

Spanish Central: Translation of hover

Nglish: Translation of hover for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hover for Arabic Speakers

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 strong desire or propensity

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