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

Definition of waver

 (Entry 1 of 3)

intransitive verb

1 : to vacillate irresolutely between choices : fluctuate in opinion, allegiance, or direction
2a : to weave or sway unsteadily to and fro : reel, totter
b : quiver, flicker wavering flames
c : to hesitate as if about to give way : falter
3 : to give an unsteady sound : quaver


noun (1)

Definition of waver (Entry 2 of 3)

: an act of wavering, quivering, or fluttering


noun (2)
wav·​er | \ ˈwā-vər How to pronounce waver (audio) \

Definition of waver (Entry 3 of 3)

: one that waves

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Other Words from waver


waverer \ ˈwā-​və-​rər How to pronounce waverer (audio) \ noun
waveringly \ ˈwāv-​riŋ-​lē How to pronounce waveringly (audio) , ˈwā-​və-​ \ adverb

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.
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First Known Use of waver


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

History and Etymology for waver


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

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Time Traveler for waver

Time Traveler

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

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Cite this Entry

“Waver.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/waver. Accessed 4 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for waver


How to pronounce waver (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of waver

: to go back and forth between choices or opinions : to be uncertain about what you think about something or someone
: to move back and forth in an unsteady way
: to become unsteady because of weakness, emotion, tiredness, etc.


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

Kids Definition of waver

1 : to be uncertain in opinion
2 : to move unsteadily or to and fro
3 : to give an unsteady sound The music of the flutes wavered— Lloyd Alexander, Time Cat

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More from Merriam-Webster on waver

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for waver

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with waver

Spanish Central: Translation of waver

Nglish: Translation of waver for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of waver for Arabic Speakers

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