fal·​ter | \ ˈfȯl-tər How to pronounce falter (audio) \
faltered; faltering\ ˈfȯl-​t(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce falter (audio) \

Definition of falter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to walk unsteadily : stumble the … stranger falters out of the thicket and drops to his knees— Dudley Fitts
b : to give way : totter could feel my legs faltering
c : to move waveringly or hesitatingly forced to bail out of faltering airplanes over the AlpsNat'l Geographic
2 : to speak brokenly or weakly : stammer her voice faltered
3a : to hesitate in purpose or action : waver he never faltered in his determination
b : to lose drive or effectiveness the business was faltering

transitive verb

: to utter hesitatingly or brokenly faltered an excuse



Definition of falter (Entry 2 of 2)

: an act or instance of faltering

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Other Words from falter


falterer \ ˈfȯl-​tər-​ər How to pronounce falter (audio) \ noun
falteringly \ ˈfȯl-​t(ə-​)riŋ-​lē How to pronounce falter (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for falter

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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Choose the Right Synonym for falter


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 falter in a Sentence

Verb The business was faltering due to poor management. Their initial optimism has faltered. signs that the economy is faltering Her steps began to falter.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Backup Art Sitkowski is available should Peters falter. Mark Heim | Mheim@al.com, al, 9 Oct. 2021 Over the last 19 months, our personal lives have continued to falter with countless upsets, losses and letdowns. Los Angeles Times, 9 Oct. 2021 Backup Art Sitkowski is available should Peters falter. Terry Towery, chicagotribune.com, 8 Oct. 2021 Bill Melugin reports from Mission, Texas with an update as President Biden's poll numbers falter on the issue. Fox News, 7 Oct. 2021 But Craig is obviously disinterested in that take on the role, and in No Time to Die the actor pushes the audience to notice more cracks in Bond’s facade, playing his super-spy coolness as a force field against emotion that’s starting to falter. David Sims, The Atlantic, 5 Oct. 2021 Should Eovaldi falter, Cora can turn to Tanner Houck, Eduardo Rodriguez , Martin Perez or even Nick Pivetta for help. Bernie Pleskoff, Forbes, 4 Oct. 2021 The financial situation would continue to improve and falter, causing the organization to nearly close its doors in 2015 before the bottom line stabilized. Matthew J. Palm, orlandosentinel.com, 18 Aug. 2021 But Sirianni left some wiggle room in case Hurts should falter. Martin Frank, USA TODAY, 29 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Another possible way to have a self-driving car falter when using an offramp would be to have the AI driving system fail to ascertain that the offramp is an offramp. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 13 Sep. 2021 Vaccines prevent disease but falter to limit the spread of Delta. Michael Mina, Time, 10 Sep. 2021 The flashes of a fast, physical defense were there, but the pre-snap confusion, poor tackling and fourth quarter falter are the lingering tastes from Week 1. Dallas News, 9 Sep. 2021 As the Olympics manage to remind us every cycle, favorites falter and underdogs win, and oftentimes because the former is taken for granted and the latter overlooked. BostonGlobe.com, 1 Aug. 2021 On the night of the Orioles Hall of Fame ceremony, which featured heartfelt messages, tears and standing ovations, the O’s again watched another lead falter at the bat of Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter Nelson Cruz. Frederick N. Rasmussen, baltimoresun.com, 8 Aug. 2021 On the night of the Orioles Hall of Fame ceremony, which featured heartfelt messages, tears and standing ovations, the O’s again watched another lead falter at the bat of Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter Nelson Cruz. Mary Ann Ashcraft, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, 8 Aug. 2021 The list will be updated annually, and wineries could lose the emblem if their sustainability efforts falter. Washington Post, 9 July 2021 Two strategies will separate the companies that get this right from those that falter: listening to, understanding and prioritizing the new needs and experiences of employees; and using technology to support them. John Machado, Forbes, 27 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'falter.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of falter


14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a


1834, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for falter

Verb and Noun

Middle English

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Time Traveler for falter

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for falter

Last Updated

12 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Falter.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/falter. Accessed 17 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for falter



English Language Learners Definition of falter

: to stop being strong or successful : to begin to fail or weaken
: to begin to walk or move in an unsteady way
: to feel doubt about doing something


fal·​ter | \ ˈfȯl-tər How to pronounce falter (audio) \
faltered; faltering

Kids Definition of falter

1 : to move unsteadily : waver
2 : to hesitate in speech
3 : to hesitate in purpose or action

More from Merriam-Webster on falter

Nglish: Translation of falter for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of falter for Arabic Speakers


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