Thesaurus

hesitate

verb

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

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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

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Time Traveler for hesitate

Time Traveler

The first known use of hesitate was in 1598

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Thesaurus Entries Near hesitate

hesitantly

hesitate

hesitated

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Cite this Entry

“Hesitate.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/hesitate. Accessed 26 Oct. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on hesitate

Nglish: Translation of hesitate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hesitate for Arabic Speakers

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