Thesaurus

vacillate

verb

Synonyms & Antonyms of vacillate

to show uncertainty about the right course of action
  • vacillated for so long that someone else stepped in and made the decision

Synonyms for vacillate

Words Related to vacillate

Near Antonyms for vacillate

Antonyms for vacillate

See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About vacillate

How does the verb vacillate differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of vacillate are falter, hesitate, and waver. While all these words mean "to show irresolution or uncertainty," vacillate implies prolonged hesitation from inability to reach a firm decision.

vacillated until events were out of control

When is it sensible to use falter instead of vacillate?

While the synonyms falter and vacillate are close in meaning, falter implies a wavering or stumbling and often connotes nervousness, lack of courage, or outright fear.

never once faltered during her testimony

When would hesitate be a good substitute for vacillate?

The words hesitate and vacillate are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, hesitate implies a pause before deciding or acting or choosing.

hesitated before answering the question

When could waver be used to replace vacillate?

Although the words waver and vacillate 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 vacillate

Time Traveler for vacillate

Time Traveler

The first known use of vacillate was in 1597

See more words from the same year

Cite this Entry

“Vacillate.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/vacillate. Accessed 14 Jun. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on vacillate

Dictionary: Definition of vacillate

Nglish: Translation of vacillate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of vacillate for Arabic Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Dog Breeds

True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Typeshift

Anagram puzzles meet word search.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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