vacillate

verb
vac·​il·​late | \ ˈva-sə-ˌlāt How to pronounce vacillate (audio) \
vacillated; vacillating

Definition of vacillate

intransitive verb

1 : to waver in mind, will, or feeling : hesitate in choice of opinions or courses
2a : to sway through lack of equilibrium

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Other Words from vacillate

vacillatingly \ ˈva-​sə-​ˌlā-​tiŋ-​lē How to pronounce vacillatingly (audio) \ adverb
vacillator \ ˈva-​sə-​ˌlā-​tər How to pronounce vacillator (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for vacillate

hesitate, waver, vacillate, falter mean to show irresolution or uncertainty. hesitate implies a pause before deciding or acting or choosing. hesitated before answering the question waver implies hesitation after seeming to decide and so connotes weakness or a retreat. wavered in his support of the rebels vacillate implies prolonged hesitation from inability to reach a firm decision. vacillated until events were out of control falter implies a wavering or stumbling and often connotes nervousness, lack of courage, or outright fear. never once faltered during her testimony

Examples of vacillate in a Sentence

She has vacillated on this issue. vacillated for so long that someone else stepped in and made the decision

Recent Examples on the Web

The caffeine breakdowns can vacillate for other forms of coffee, too. Korin Miller, SELF, "Is Coffee Actually Dehydrating?," 6 Mar. 2019 Wallace was captured and executed, and finally Robert the Bruce stop vacillating between sides, backed independence, and rose to become the King of Scotland. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "'Outlaw King' vs. 'Braveheart': Which Movie Gets Scotland Right?," 13 Nov. 2018 The idea for an efficient, anything-goes product came from her own experience vacillating between 18-hour days in full on-set makeup and off days enjoying a bare face. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Exclusive: Drew Barrymore Is Launching Flower Beauty's First Skin-Care Product, the Supernova Celestial Skin Elixir," 4 Sep. 2018 In Kusa, as elsewhere in Russia, people vacillate over Stalin’s legacy, including those whose family members were persecuted. James Marson, WSJ, "The Case of the Disappearing Stalin Statue Roils a Russian City," 22 Oct. 2018 Intuitive, nurturing, and reflective, your feelings vacillate like the phases of the Moon, which happens to have rulership over your sign. Ashley Otero, Teen Vogue, "Who You Should Date, Based on Your Horoscope," 20 Aug. 2018 One side may gamble that NATO will vacillate and push the boundaries, triggering Article 5. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "Now NATO Says Russian “Hybrid Warfare” Could Start a Real War," 13 July 2018 But after spending the past 18 years vacillating between Mexico’s two dominant parties, voters appear increasingly willing to try something else. New York Times, "The Firebrand Leftist Far Ahead in Mexico’s Presidential Polls," 29 June 2018 That invitation — not unlike the Eagles’ — was pulled after a number of players vacillated on attending. Katie Mcinerney, Philly.com, "LeBron James and Steph Curry agree: NBA champs aren't headed to the White House," 5 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'vacillate.' 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 vacillate

1597, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

History and Etymology for vacillate

borrowed from Latin vacillātus, past participle of vacillāre "to be unsteady, totter, be weak or inconstant, waver," of uncertain origin

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Statistics for vacillate

Last Updated

6 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for vacillate

The first known use of vacillate was in 1597

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More Definitions for vacillate

vacillate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of vacillate

formal : to repeatedly change your opinions or desires

vacillate

verb
vac·​il·​late | \ ˈva-sə-ˌlāt How to pronounce vacillate (audio) \
vacillated; vacillating

Kids Definition of vacillate

: to hesitate between courses or opinions : be unable to choose

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Comments on vacillate

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