hesitate


hesitate
hesitate, waver, vacillate, falter all mean to show irresolution or uncertainty.
Hesitate, the general term, usually implies a pause or other sign of indecision before one makes up one's mind what to do, say, or choose
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I have for many months hesitated about the propriety of allowing . . . any part of my narrative to come before the public eyeDe Quincey

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when delivering a speech to pour it out in a copious stream, without pausing to take breath or hesitating over a word— Hudson

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Waver (see also SWING 2) implies hesitation after a decision has been reached and so usually connotes weakness or retreat
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let us hold fast . . . without waveringHeb 10:23

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the front line which had been advancing rapidly wavered under the heavy fire

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you waver in your convictions— Jefferies

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Vacillate implies prolonged hesitation resulting from one's inability to reach a fixed or final decision; the term connotes alternate decision and indecision or a shifting (as in opinions, choices, or loyalties)
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he may pause, but he must not hesitate—and tremble, but he must not vacillateRuskin

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he had vacillated be-tween various substitutes for Oswald up to the very moment when he named the four upon whom he decided finally— H. G. Wells

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I have vacillated when I should have insisted; temporized when I should have taken definite action— Marsh

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Falter suggests a wavering in purpose or action that is evident or is made evident in such signs of fear or nervousness as trembling or the breaking of the voice
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with voice that did not falter though the heart was moved— Wordsworth

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neither to change, nor falter, nor repent— Shelley

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his eyes did not flinch and his tongue did not falterConrad

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Analogous words: balk, boggle, stick, stickle, scruple, *demur, shy: fluctuate, oscillate (see SWING)

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Hesitate — «Hesitate» Sencillo de Stone Sour del álbum Audio Secrecy Publicación 11 de febrero de 2011 Formato Descarga Digital Género(s) Metal alternativo, Hard Rock, Post grunge …   Wikipedia Español

  • Hesitate — «Hesitate» Сингл Stone Sour из альбома Audio Secrecy Выпущен 11 февраля 2011 Формат Digital Download Air Play Записан 2010 Жанр пост гранж …   Википедия

  • Hesitate — Hes i*tate, v. i. [imp. & p. p. {Hesitated}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Hesitating}.] [L. haesitatus, p. p. of haesitare, intens. fr. haerere to hesitate, stick fast; to hang or hold fast. Cf. {Aghast}, {Gaze}, {Adhere}.] [1913 Webster] 1. To stop or pause …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Hesitate — Hes i*tate, v. t. To utter with hesitation or to intimate by a reluctant manner. [Poetic & R.] [1913 Webster] Just hint a fault, and hesitate dislike. Pope. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • hesitate — [hez′i tāt΄] vi. hesitated, hesitating [< L haesitatus, pp. of haesitare, to stick fast, hesitate, intens. of haerere, to stick, cleave < IE base * ghais , to be stuck, neglect > prob. Lith gaištù, to neglect] 1. to stop because of… …   English World dictionary

  • hesitate — I verb balk, be dilatory, be dubious, be irresolute, be tentative, be uncertain, cunctari, dally, delay, demur, doubt, dubitare, falter, haerere, have reservations, hold back, oscillate, pause, procrastinate, question, scruple, stop, think twice …   Law dictionary

  • hesitate — (v.) 1620s, from L. haesitatum, pp. of haesitare (see HESITATION (Cf. hesitation)). Related: Hesitated; hesitating …   Etymology dictionary

  • hesitate — [v] wait; be uncertain alternate, balance, balk, be irresolute, be reluctant, be unwilling, blow hot and cold*, dally, debate, defer, delay, demur, dillydally*, dither, doubt, equivocate, falter, flounder, fluctuate, fumble, hang*, hang back,… …   New thesaurus

  • hesitate — ► VERB 1) pause in indecision. 2) be reluctant to do something. ● he who hesitates is lost Cf. ↑he who hesitates is lost DERIVATIVES hesitation noun. ORIGIN …   English terms dictionary

  • hesitate — [[t]he̱zɪteɪt[/t]] hesitates, hesitating, hesitated 1) VERB If you hesitate, you do not speak or act for a short time, usually because you are uncertain, embarrassed, or worried about what you are going to say or do. The telephone rang. Catherine …   English dictionary


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