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and resentment of the people to whom he spoke, but his words were somehow tentative and contingent, as if they could be withdrawn on a month's notice.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
Then there are recordings with more tentative release dates.
House and Senate Republicans have struck a tentative deal to merge their tax bills.
Jackson also granted prosecutors’ unopposed request to suspend the usual speedy-trial requirements because of the complexity of the case, and set a tentative trial date for spring.
There have been rumors about China's development of a spaceplane for the better part of a decade, but now the vehicle has a tentative launch date.
Beckerman ordered Schaefer to remain in jail and set a tentative trial date for Dec. 27.
SoftBank, whose $100 billion Vision Fund hasn’t finished raising money, is floating tentative plans for a second Vision Fund that could be about $200 billion in size, said one person familiar with the company’s plans.
Trump’s tentative deal with Schumer and House Democratic leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco quickly met resistance from congressional backers of immigration restriction.
Board members announced tentative plans to bring two resolutions to the board's next meeting on Sept. 26.
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
TENTATIVE Defined for Kids
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up tentative? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).