Synonyms & Antonyms of hesitate

to show uncertainty about the right course of action
  • I didn't hesitate to tell them that what they were doing was wrong and that I wanted no part of it

Synonyms for hesitate

Words Related to hesitate

Near Antonyms for hesitate

Antonyms for hesitate

See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About hesitate

How does the verb hesitate differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of hesitate are falter, vacillate, and waver. While all these words mean "to show irresolution or uncertainty," hesitate implies a pause before deciding or acting or choosing.

hesitated before answering the question

When might falter be a better fit than hesitate?

The words falter and hesitate are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, falter implies a wavering or stumbling and often connotes nervousness, lack of courage, or outright fear.

never once faltered during her testimony

In what contexts can vacillate take the place of hesitate?

The synonyms vacillate and hesitate are sometimes interchangeable, but vacillate implies prolonged hesitation from inability to reach a firm decision.

vacillated until events were out of control

Where would waver be a reasonable alternative to hesitate?

Although the words waver and hesitate have much in common, waver implies hesitation after seeming to decide and so connotes weakness or a retreat.

wavered in his support of the rebels

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about hesitate

Time Traveler for hesitate

Time Traveler

The first known use of hesitate was in 1598

See more words from the same year

Cite this Entry

“Hesitate.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on hesitate

Dictionary: Definition of hesitate

Nglish: Translation of hesitate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hesitate for Arabic Speakers

Comments on hesitate

What made you want to look up hesitate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Here Be Dragons: A Creature Identification Quiz

  • monster werewolf photo
  • Which is a synonym of werewolf?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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