reluctant

adjective
re·​luc·​tant | \ri-ˈlək-tənt \

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

There was a fear that renters, afraid of losing their homes, would be reluctant to complaining about a landlord for fear of retribution. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Seattle’s mandatory rental inspection law challenged in lawsuit," 6 Dec. 2018 Many smaller cosmetic brands and indie lines are reluctant to produce mascara at all because getting the technology behind the liquid, the lash wand, and the brush just right can become a wildly expensive endeavor. Kellie Ell, Glamour, "Social Media Is Killing Mascara," 28 Nov. 2018 The outreach team provides assistance to adults with serious mental illness who are reluctant or resistant to receiving mental health services. Lyndsay Winkley, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Did the 'system' fail mentally ill man who shot 2 San Diego police officers? Some think so," 1 July 2018 Critics, mostly defense lawyers, argue that the courts have been too reluctant to overturn convictions for alleged Brady violations. Longreads, "The Bungled Bank Robbery That Ended in a Landmark Legal Ruling," 26 June 2018 Still, research suggests that signaling within the amygdala underlies the degree to which people are reluctant to trust others, especially regarding in-group versus out-group preference. Leslie Henderson, Scientific American, "Why Our Brains See the World as "Us" versus "Them"," 22 June 2018 The bulk of the action is a longtime favorite fable an elderly man (Peter Falk) is reading to his grandson (Fred Savage), who starts out as a reluctant listener but gradually gets into the story. Verge Staff, The Verge, "The Verge’s guide to tolerable family streaming entertainment," 21 Nov. 2018 There is a wise-cracking, reluctant Chosen One, or Cursed One, in the case of the Earp heir. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Wynonna Earp’s wild season 3 finale takes the series to a whole new level," 2 Oct. 2018 Back then, President Reagan was reluctant to publicly criticize Fed Chairman Paul Volcker, who had lifted the benchmark rate to 19% to fight inflation in 1981. Nick Timiraos, WSJ, "While Trump Grumbles About Fed, His Picks Exude Pragmatism," 22 Sep. 2018

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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Statistics for reluctant

Last Updated

11 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

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 \

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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