Synonym Chooser

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

Thesaurus Entries Near vacillate

Cite this Entry

“Vacillate.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 May. 2024.

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