re·​luc·​tance | \ri-ˈlək-tən(t)s \

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Freeman said the experiences are meant to strongly immerse people in a sensation of height and then encourage them to challenge their reluctance to take part. NBC News, "Virtual reality helps cure real-life fear of heights, study finds," 11 July 2018 Kucinich already faced criticism for meeting with Assad in 2017 and for his reluctance to admonish the Syrian dictator for a chemical weapons attack on civilians in April. Seth A. Richardson,, "Richard Cordray wins the Ohio Democratic governor's primary," 8 May 2018 The businesses are stepping in to help the perpetually overwhelmed social-services system and to overcome the reluctance of many employers to hire homeless or formerly homeless people. Tracy Saelinger, Woman's Day, "These 3 Companies Help At-Risk Women and Are Changing the World," 2 July 2018 The country has shown a similar lack of understanding for Trump's early reluctance to directly confront Russia over its efforts to interfere with Western elections. Rick Noack,, "New government leaflets tell Swedes to prepare for war," 22 May 2018 Cannabis industry officials blame the lackluster figures on the reluctance of retailers and growers to go through the legal and financial red tape of entering the legal market, a situation that has allowed the black market to thrive. Peter Fimrite, San Francisco Chronicle, "Alameda, San Francisco lead Bay Area counties in collection of millions in cannabis taxes," 11 May 2018 Many former intelligence leaders who have raised concerns about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign — and Trump's reluctance to confront the issue — are strong supporters of Haspel. Chris Megerian,, "Battle over CIA torture program and secrecy looms at Gina Haspel's confirmation hearing," 7 May 2018 The reluctance shaped the deal five years ago over the 2014-2020 EU spending program, which marked the first time the bloc’s multiannual budget shrank. Jonathan Stearns,, "Europe Fires Starting Gun for Fight Over Next EU Spending Plan," 2 May 2018 In the gubernatorial race, of course, Battle has been a leading critic of Ivey's reluctance to participate in candidate debates. Paul Gattis,, "Gov. Kay Ivey, Tommy Battle to travel to Japan to meet with Toyota, Mazda officials," 17 Apr. 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.

See More

First Known Use of reluctance

1629, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about reluctance

Share reluctance

Statistics for reluctance

Last Updated

11 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for reluctance

The first known use of reluctance was in 1629

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for reluctance


re·​luc·​tance | \ri-ˈlək-təns \

Kids Definition of reluctance

: the quality or state of showing doubt or unwillingness

Keep scrolling for more

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).


a private place of worship

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!