re·​luc·​tance | \ ri-ˈlək-tən(t)s How to pronounce reluctance (audio) \

Definition of reluctance

1 : the quality or state of being reluctant
2 : the opposition offered in a magnetic circuit to magnetic flux specifically : the ratio of the magnetic potential difference to the corresponding flux

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Examples of reluctance in a Sentence

the mice showed an odd reluctance to eat the cheese we had put out for them

Recent Examples on the Web

The Justice Department’s decision to do so came despite a reluctance that the Justice Department or Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) have the legal authority ban bump stocks and similar devices. German Lopez, Vox, "The Trump administration just banned bump stocks for guns," 18 Dec. 2018 Studies have documented links between domestic violence and animal cruelty and have noted some victims’ reluctance to leave without their pets. Washington Post, "Domestic violence shelter being custom-built to include pets," 30 May 2018 Trump’s reluctance to part with Pruitt might also stem from realizing how difficult winning Senate approval for another nominee could be. Washington Post,, "As a bruising week ends, EPA’s Pruitt hangs on to support from a wary White House," 6 Apr. 2018 The handling of the race shows both sides’ reluctance to put too much emphasis on one contest amid the high stakes of this midterm election year. NBC News, "First Read’s Morning Clips: Shutdown showdown," 18 Jan. 2018 Netanyahu’s apparent reluctance to launch a full-scale war reflected the lack of good choices at his disposal. Fares Akram, The Seattle Times, "Cease-fire takes hold between Israel and Hamas," 13 Nov. 2018 Trump has faced widespread criticism for his reluctance to act punitively towards Moscow over its interference in the presidential election seventeen months ago. Nash Jenkins, Time, "What to Know About Trump's New Sanctions Against Russia," 6 Apr. 2018 Hathaway's reluctance to be a demure actress may have been one of the reasons people found her off-putting. Morgan Baila,, "We Were Right About Anne Hathaway," 7 June 2018 But the running back's reluctance to talk is a reminder of how sticky this is for the folks who coach and play in the NFL. Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press, "Donald Trump using NFL anthem issue to lather up resentment and hate," 6 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'reluctance.' 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 reluctance

1629, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for reluctance

Last Updated

13 May 2019

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Time Traveler for reluctance

The first known use of reluctance was in 1629

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More Definitions for reluctance


re·​luc·​tance | \ ri-ˈlək-təns How to pronounce reluctance (audio) \

Kids Definition of reluctance

: the quality or state of showing doubt or unwillingness

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Comments on reluctance

What made you want to look up reluctance? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to speak slightingly about or to degrade

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