hes·​i·​tant | \ ˈhe-zə-tənt How to pronounce hesitant (audio) \

Definition of hesitant

: slow to act or proceed (as from fear, indecision, or unwillingness) : tending to hesitate : showing or feeling reluctance or hesitation took a hesitant step towards the door hesitant about accepting the job

Other Words from hesitant

hesitantly adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for hesitant



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Choose the Right Synonym for hesitant

disinclined, hesitant, reluctant, loath, averse mean lacking the will or desire to do something indicated. disinclined implies lack of taste for or inclination. disinclined to move again disinclined for reading hesitant implies a holding back especially through fear or uncertainty. hesitant about asking for a date reluctant implies a holding back through unwillingness. a reluctant witness loath implies hesitancy because of conflict with one's opinions, predilections, or liking. seems loath to trust anyone averse implies a holding back from or avoiding because of distaste or repugnance. averse to hard work not averse to an occasional drink

Examples of hesitant in a Sentence

She took a hesitant step back from the door. He seems hesitant about accepting the job.
Recent Examples on the Web Initially hesitant in his grade school days about maybe following his father’s gravel path to the NHL, Josh Manson potted the overtime winner Tuesday night that handed the Avalanche a 1-0 series lead over the Blues in their Round 2 matchup out West. Kevin Paul Dupont, BostonGlobe.com, 21 May 2022 Why was the science teacher hesitant to give a lecture on mitosis? Corinne Sullivan, Woman's Day, 20 May 2022 Those who were hesitant to spend $5 on a single strawberry will be pleased to know that price of the celebrated Omakase Berry has dropped in half, down to $2.50 for the delectable red fruit. Tori Latham, Robb Report, 19 May 2022 While his departure from Epic was amicable, the rapper was hesitant to reenter the world of major labels. Neena Rouhani, Billboard, 19 May 2022 Creatives may also be hesitant to become dependent on somewhat new technology for critical work. Scharon Harding, Ars Technica, 18 May 2022 Police are becoming hesitant to enforce the laws for fear of retaliation. Baltimore Sun, 17 May 2022 But while some might be hesitant to build close friendships with their direct reports, Denworth clarifies that many people have good friendships with their managers while maintaining some professional boundaries. Chloe Berger, Fortune, 14 May 2022 After wrapping Shameless only a year ago, White was hesitant to play yet another young guy struggling in Chicago on The Bear. Sydney Bucksbaum, EW.com, 13 May 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of hesitant

1647, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for hesitant

see hesitate

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Time Traveler for hesitant

Time Traveler

The first known use of hesitant was in 1647

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Last Updated

23 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Hesitant.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hesitant. Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for hesitant


hes·​i·​tant | \ ˈhe-zə-tənt How to pronounce hesitant (audio) \

Kids Definition of hesitant

: feeling or showing unwillingness to do something because of doubt or nervousness I was hesitant to join in.

Other Words from hesitant

hesitantly adverb Toby read … hesitantly, as if he didn't really believe what he was saying … — Zilpha Keatley Snyder, The Egypt Game

More from Merriam-Webster on hesitant

Nglish: Translation of hesitant for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hesitant for Arabic Speakers


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