Examples of tentative in a Sentence
- In the winter, retirees from the Midwest fill the trailer parks. They are known with tentative affection as snowbirds. —William Langewiesche, Atlantic, June 1992
- Clearly the President was chastened by the sorrow and resentment of the people to whom he spoke, but his words were somehow tentative and contingent, as if they could be withdrawn on a month's notice. —Lewis H. Lapham, Harper's, July 1992
- There was a crying need, in the tentative early days of populist toryism, for a voice that could bring the gospel to the lumpen. —Christopher Hitchens, Times Literary Supplement, 30 Nov. 1990
- Thus, we have a tentative picture of anatomically modern people arising in Africa over 100,000 years ago, but initially making the same tools as Neanderthals and having no advantage over them. By perhaps 60,000 years ago, some magic twist of behavior had been added to the modern anatomy. —Jared M. Diamond, Discover, May 1989
the baby's first tentative steps
We have tentative plans for the weekend.
Recent Examples of tentative from the Web
Hope—however tentative or foolish—is often the most abundant at the beginning of something new.
Passive play and tentative defense have been our constant battle.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers outlined its tentative plan in a report that had been scheduled for release in February but was delayed by the Trump administration, drawing criticism from members of Congress and environmental groups.
According to a statement from Metro, the closure dates are tentative and subject to change based on construction progress and weather conditions.
Last October, the mayor announced yet another tentative pact — with Bosa.
What leads to prematurity itself is not fully understood: even a tentative cause can be identified in only about half of such births.
Prior to fishing trips, the tentative operating schedule for Smith Lake dam can be reviewed at www.apcshorelines.com/our-lakes/smith or by calling 800-LAKES-11.
The Justice Department insisted on reopening bidding after a tentative deal was announced whereby rival Chicago Tribune would get it, allowing it to continue as an independent entity.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tentative.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
A "tentative" Explanation
Tentative is from the Latin tentare (“to attempt”), and its original meaning was “attempted, provisional, experimental.” It is easy to see how this emphasis on trial and error led to the word’s current sense “not fully worked out or developed” (as in "a tentative date," "tentative plans," "a tentative job offer"). The “hesitant, uncertain” sense that is also common nowadays (as in “a tentative knock on the door”) extends the idea of an unripe attempt to the uncertain emotional state of the person making the attempt.
Origin and Etymology of tentative
First Known Use: 1626See Words from the same year
Synonymsconditional, contingent (on or upon), subject (to), dependent
Related Wordsliable, open, susceptible; limited, modified, qualified, restricted; debatable, disputable, doubtable, doubtful, iffy, problematic (also problematical), questionable, shady, shaky, suspect, uncertain
Near Antonymsabsolute, all-out, arrant, categorical (also categoric), complete, consummate, out-and-out, outright, perfect, simple, total, ultimate, unadulterated, unalloyed, unconditional, unequivocal, unmitigated, unqualified, utter; basal, basic, fundamental, primary
TENTATIVE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of tentative for English Language Learners
: not done with confidence : uncertain and hesitant
: not definite : still able to be changed
TENTATIVE Defined for Kids
Definition of tentative for Students
- tentative plans
- Harriet walked toward her tentatively, as one would toward a mad dog …
- —Louise Fitzhugh, Harriet the Spy
Seen and Heard
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