ir·​res·​o·​lute i-ˈre-zə-ˌlüt How to pronounce irresolute (audio)
: uncertain how to act or proceed : vacillating
irresolute legislators
i-ˈre-zə-ˌlüt-lē How to pronounce irresolute (audio)
i-ˈre-zə-ˌlüt-nəs How to pronounce irresolute (audio)
irresolution noun

Examples of irresolute in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Showing signs of being irresolute can signal weakness that adversaries take note of. Michael Poznansky, Foreign Affairs, 5 Jan. 2024 In short, Obama’s apparent restraint appears irresolute, whereas Putin comes across as a strong, decisive master strategist who exploits Obama’s weakness and keeps Washington off balance. Alexander Cooley, Foreign Affairs, 18 Oct. 2015 Vernon’s sea power duly secured the Panamanian export hub of Porto Bello (which would give its name to London’s Portobello Road), but the irresolute Wentworth was ignominiously defeated in his halfhearted attempts to capture Cartagena (in modern-day Colombia) and Santiago, Cuba. Washington Post, 10 Nov. 2021 In some states, the confusion felt by providers and patients is compounded by ambiguous, irresolute language in the new and forthcoming laws themselves. Jessica Winter, The New Yorker, 2 July 2022 That phrase is a call back to the ancestors and an acknowledgment that you were not raised to be fearful and irresolute. Washington Post, 18 Oct. 2021 Sessions became unpopular within the agency for irresolute leadership, according to a 1993 New York Times article that described him as having a short attention span and being disinterested in bureaucratic details. Stephen Miller,, 11 June 2020 More unsettling than terrifying, the story (by the directors and Sergio Casci) builds to a leisurely, irresolute and unsatisfying climax. Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times, 6 Feb. 2020 In his resignation letter, Mattis emphasized the value of allies and suggested that Trump had been irresolute and ambiguous in his approach to Russia and China. Robert Burns, The Denver Post, 28 Aug. 2019

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'irresolute.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1579, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of irresolute was in 1579

Dictionary Entries Near irresolute

Cite this Entry

“Irresolute.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


ir·​res·​o·​lute (ˈ)ir-ˈ(r)ez-ə-ˌlüt How to pronounce irresolute (audio)
: not resolute : hesitant
irresolutely adverb
irresoluteness noun

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