1 of 3


wa·​ver ˈwā-vər How to pronounce waver (audio)
wavered; wavering
ˈwā-və-riŋ How to pronounce waver (audio)

intransitive verb

: to vacillate irresolutely between choices : fluctuate in opinion, allegiance, or direction
: to weave or sway unsteadily to and fro : reel, totter
: quiver, flicker
wavering flames
: to hesitate as if about to give way : falter
: to give an unsteady sound : quaver
waverer noun
ˈwā-və- How to pronounce waver (audio)


2 of 3

noun (1)

: an act of wavering, quivering, or fluttering


3 of 3

noun (2)

wav·​er ˈwā-vər How to pronounce waver (audio)
: one that waves
Choose the Right Synonym for waver

swing, sway, oscillate, vibrate, fluctuate, waver, undulate mean to move from one direction to its opposite.

swing implies a movement of something attached at one end or one side.

the door suddenly swung open

sway implies a slow swinging or teetering movement.

trees swaying in the breeze

oscillate stresses a usually regular alternation of direction.

an oscillating fan

vibrate suggests the rapid oscillation of an elastic body under stress or impact.

the vibrating strings of a piano

fluctuate suggests constant irregular changes of level, intensity, or value.

fluctuating interest rates

waver stresses irregular motion suggestive of reeling or tottering.

the exhausted runner wavered before collapsing

undulate suggests a gentle wavelike motion.

an undulating sea of grass

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 waver in a Sentence

Verb people who are still wavering between the two candidates They never wavered in their support for their leader. Despite the changes, he did not waver from his plan to retire. The kite wavered in the wind.
Recent Examples on the Web
And classical music stages, where Russia was long a moneymaking destination, have also wavered. Ben Miller, New York Times, 25 Aug. 2023 Our passionate support has not wavered and will continue until the last minute of SD Loyal soccer has been played. Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, 24 Aug. 2023 His confidence has not wavered, though, based both on those quarterbacks’ performance in the present and the lessons of the past. Nathan Baird, cleveland, 24 Aug. 2023 Returning to school was tough — she was bullied about her hair — but her passion to become a doctor never wavered. Christine Pelisek, Peoplemag, 24 Aug. 2023 Read full article For Jones, the confidence in his own abilities hasn’t wavered. Conor Ryan, BostonGlobe.com, 22 Aug. 2023 While England had entered the tournament as one of the odds-on favorites, Spain never wavered in their dominance throughout the match. Justin Klawans, The Week, 20 Aug. 2023 Pittman and running backs coach Jimmy Smith, the Hogs' lead recruiter for Russell, never wavered in their pursuit of him and that stuck with him. Richard Davenport, Arkansas Online, 15 July 2023 The series’ fan base has not wavered in its devotion. Malia Mendez, Los Angeles Times, 16 Aug. 2023
Good news: it can easily be achieved with the help of a hair waver. Addison Aloian, Women's Health, 8 Aug. 2023 Yet at the company’s boardroom showdown, as the members vote, Shiv wavers, and can’t bring herself to go through with it. Kate Aurthur, Variety, 2 Aug. 2023 Flag wavers would be like NHL, USA Hockey, Hockey Canada . . . Kevin Paul Dupont, BostonGlobe.com, 29 July 2023 As her King George descends further into something akin to madness, her ruthless facade wavers. Lauren Puckett-Pope, Harper's BAZAAR, 5 May 2023 But whether his products are installed in Nolita or Notting Hill, Hendifar’s starting point never wavers. Justin Fenner, Robb Report, 22 Apr. 2023 Priced from $10 to $75, the brand’s debut collection includes hair styling clips, zig zag headbands, a detangling brush, neoprene cases and organizers, a puffy tote bag and a 1.25-inch triple-barrel hair waver. Danielle Directo-Meston, The Hollywood Reporter, 2 Mar. 2023 Can people with shorter hair use a hair waver? elle.com, 7 Apr. 2023 The red flag-waver was supposed to be way ahead of the upcoming car. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 29 June 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'waver.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Middle English; akin to Old English wǣfre restless, wafian to wave with the hands — more at wave

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (1)

1519, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

1835, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of waver was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near waver

Cite this Entry

“Waver.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/waver. Accessed 22 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


wavered; wavering
: to go back and forth between choices
: to weave or sway to and fro
: to move unsteadily

More from Merriam-Webster on waver

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!