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and resentment of the people to whom he spoke, but his words were somehow tentative and contingent, as if they could be withdrawn on a month's notice.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
Back-way wonders With cliffside hairpin turns and the already very narrow two lanes often going down to one, this is not a trip for tentative drivers or those prone to carsickness.
An eerie calm was apparent as equity futures signaled a mixed and tentative start, as did currency NDFs.
In a tentative ruling (the final ruling is due in a few days), Judge Keosian has determined that the latter is the more harmful concern here.
When Papandreou lost the election the following year, negotiations continued with the new government, and a tentative agreement was reached.
The studio albums are subdued, even tentative, compared with what the songs became on the road.
There are tentative signs of stronger pay pressures in Britain and America, and firm evidence of them in the Czech Republic, where wage growth is above 7%.
Its $150 million tentative cost would be covered by state bonds, donations and other sources.
The first tentative signs of a return to the rhythm of everyday life began appearing Monday.
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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