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and resentment of the people to whom he spoke, but his words were somehow tentative and contingent, as if they could be withdrawn on a month's notice.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
But some of the romantic scenes are tentative, a little rote and drippy for this piece and not especially connected.
If approved by the state’s board of governors and ratified by faculty, the new tentative agreement will run through June 30, 2019.
Federal courts have taken tentative, though momentous, steps in recent years to decide what the Second and 14th amendments mean in terms of gun laws.
Thanks to the tentative agreement by Senate Republicans to write a budget that will allow for $1.5 trillion tax cuts over the next 10 years, the bank’s economists believe Congress will approve a tax-reform bill early in 2018.
My tentative plans are to gerrymander all of those crazy libs rights out of the section.
The tentative settlement terms were outlined during a court hearing in New York on Friday morning.
Abigail sent Jefferson a letter of condolence after the death of his daughter Polly in 1804, but their tentative correspondence almost immediately went nuclear.
Trump re: health care yesterday: pic.twitter.com/4Abf1NEBKK — Phil Mattingly (@Phil_Mattingly) October 7, 2017 Trump’s overture to Schumer marks his latest tentative flirtation with bipartisanship.
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
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