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

Synonyms & Antonyms for hover

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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Examples of hover in a Sentence

Verb 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 New daily coronavirus infections, which peaked at around 10,000 per day, now hover in the 80s. Washington Post, "The CDC changed its mask guidance for vaccinated Americans. Other countries are taking different approaches.," 28 Apr. 2021 Mortgage rates also continue to hover at record lows while the stock market breaks its own highs week after week and home values continue to increase in almost every city (up 1.2% on average per Zillow from February to March). Peter Lane Taylor, Forbes, "These Are America’s Top Ten Hottest Housing Markets Right Now. Should Homeowners Sell High Or Stay?," 27 Apr. 2021 Winter Snow isn’t uncommon during the winter months, when temperatures hover in the forties during the day and routinely dip below freezing at night. Shawnté Salabert, Outside Online, "The Ultimate Arches National Park Travel Guide," 22 Apr. 2021 Odundo hollows out a lump of clay to form walls, rubs and smooths them, pushes in coils of new softened clay and works the rising body until its form and gestures hover just on the edge of recognition. Sarah Medford, WSJ, "A Major Record-Setting Ceramic Artist Returns to the U.S.," 20 Apr. 2021 Many people in North Texas hover above the chasm of homelessness, buoyed only by a small paycheck, generous relative or slightly more manageable health situation. Leah Waters, Dallas News, "A former Mavs ManiAACs dancer’s long journey back from homelessness," 14 Apr. 2021 Rapid winds carry this over to the nightside, where relatively cooler temperatures hover around 2,240 degrees Fahrenheit. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "What alien raindrops on other planets have in common with rain on Earth," 13 Apr. 2021 If all final checks and atmospheric conditions look good above the Jezero Crater flight zone, Ingenuity will lift off climbing at a rate of 3 feet per second, rotate, take images with a 13-megapixel camera and hover at 10 feet above the surface. Julia Musto, Fox News, "NASA's Mars Helicopter Ingenuity's historic flight delayed," 11 Apr. 2021 During the test flight, which could last up to 30 seconds, the helicopter will climb to 10 feet above the Martian surface and hover for up to 30 seconds before touching down again, according to NASA. NBC News, "NASA helicopter set for historic first flight on Mars," 9 Apr. 2021

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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Time Traveler for hover

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for hover

Last Updated

4 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Hover.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hover. Accessed 16 May. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on hover

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hover

Nglish: Translation of hover for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hover for Arabic Speakers

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