reluctant

adjective
re·​luc·​tant | \ ri-ˈlək-tənt How to pronounce reluctant (audio) \

Definition of reluctant

: feeling or showing aversion, hesitation, or unwillingness reluctant to get involved also : having or assuming a specified role unwillingly a reluctant hero

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Other Words from reluctant

reluctantly adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for reluctant

Synonyms

cagey (also cagy), disinclined, dubious, hesitant, indisposed, loath (also loth), reticent

Antonyms

disposed, inclined

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Choose the Right Synonym for reluctant

disinclined, hesitant, reluctant, loath, averse mean lacking the will or desire to do something indicated. disinclined implies lack of taste for or inclination. disinclined to move again disinclined for reading hesitant implies a holding back especially through fear or uncertainty. hesitant about asking for a date reluctant implies a holding back through unwillingness. a reluctant witness loath implies hesitancy because of conflict with one's opinions, predilections, or liking. seems loath to trust anyone averse implies a holding back from or avoiding because of distaste or repugnance. averse to hard work not averse to an occasional drink

Examples of reluctant in a Sentence

94% of the butterflies are females, and they jostle for the attention of the few males, who seem reluctant suitors. — Carl Zimmer, Science, 11 May 2001 When I missed five in a row and was reluctant to take the next shot or didn't really follow through, my teammates would yell, "Brick!" — Bill Bradley, New York Times, 18 Dec. 1994 The man swore sullenly. He went over to a corner and slowly began to put on his coat. He took his hat and went out, with a dragging, reluctant step. — Stephen Crane, Maggie: A Girl of the Streets, 1893 The woman seemed desirous, yet reluctant, to speak, and answered, in low, mysterious tone. — Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin, 1852 We were reluctant to get involved. He might agree but seems reluctant to admit it.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The story behind the story: Since the free transition from Windows 7 to Windows 10 has long since expired, Microsoft’s job now is to convince its most reluctant users to open their wallets for either a new OS or an entirely new PC. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Windows 7 will use pop-ups to warn users of the operating system's impending death," 12 Mar. 2019 Rachel McAdams is rumored to be returning as well, as Stephen Strange's somewhat-reluctant love interest, while Scott Derrickson will reportedly return to the director's chair. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Not dusted for good? There’s a sequel in the works for Doctor Strange," 11 Dec. 2018 The breakthrough came after days of uncertainty, with EU countries either reluctant to act on the divisive migrant issue or determined to halt the migrant flow. Fox News, "5 EU countries reach deal to end limbo of rescued migrants," 25 Sep. 2018 Thus far, airlines have been reluctant to make long- or even medium-term commitments to blending biofuel with jet fuel because biofuel creation is so cost-prohibitive. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "Tonight a Virgin Atlantic 747 will fly on fuel made from industrial waste gas," 2 Oct. 2018 If a gun owner were reluctant to give up his arsenal, his family would typically have to take him to court to evaluate competency. Washington Post, "Unlocked And Loaded: Families Confront Dementia And Guns," 25 June 2018 Analysts were reluctant to dismiss the Fed’s data, given that global manufacturing surveys are also weakening. Sharon Nunn, WSJ, "Smattering of Contradictory Data Confounds Economists," 15 Feb. 2019 The claims allege that many children remain traumatized even after being reunited with their parents, including a 7-year-old girl who won’t sleep without her mother and a 6-year-old boy who is reluctant to eat. Nomaan Merchant, The Seattle Times, "Separated migrant families demand millions from US agencies," 11 Feb. 2019 Peeing in the shower is one of those things a lot of people have done at some point but may be reluctant to admit. Korin Miller, SELF, "Is It Sanitary to Pee in the Shower or Should You Stop Immediately?," 7 Feb. 2019

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

1638, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for reluctant

Latin reluctant-, reluctans, present participle of reluctari to struggle against, from re- + luctari to struggle

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Last Updated

20 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for reluctant

The first known use of reluctant was in 1638

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More Definitions for reluctant

reluctant

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of reluctant

: feeling or showing doubt about doing something : not willing or eager to do something

reluctant

adjective
re·​luc·​tant | \ ri-ˈlək-tənt How to pronounce reluctant (audio) \

Kids Definition of reluctant

: showing doubt or unwillingness She was reluctant to go.

Other Words from reluctant

reluctantly adverb

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Comments on reluctant

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