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Hesitate definitions

Webster's 1828 Dictionary

HES'ITATE, v.i. s as z. [L. haesito, haereo, to hang.]
1. To stop or pause respecting decision or action; to be doubtful as to fact, principle or determination; to be in suspense or uncertainty; as, he hesitated whether to accept the offer or not. We often hesitate what judgment to form.
It is never transitive, unless by poetic license.
Just hint a fault, and hesitate dislike.
2. To stammer; to stop in speaking.

WordNet (r) 3.0 (2005)

1: pause or hold back in uncertainty or unwillingness; "Authorities hesitate to quote exact figures" [syn: hesitate, waver, waffle]
2: interrupt temporarily an activity before continuing; "The speaker paused" [syn: hesitate, pause]

Merriam Webster's

verb (-tated; -tating) Etymology: Latin haesitatus, past participle of haesitare to stick fast, hesitate, frequentative of haer?re to stick Date: 1598 intransitive verb 1. to hold back in doubt or indecision 2. to delay momentarily ; pause 3. stammer transitive verb to hold back from in doubt or uncertainty <wouldn't hesitate to commit herself> hesitater noun hesitatingly adverb Synonyms: 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>.

Oxford Reference Dictionary

v.intr. 1 (often foll. by about, over) show or feel indecision or uncertainty; pause in doubt (hesitated over her choice). 2 (often foll. by to + infin.) be deterred by scruples; be reluctant (I hesitate to inform against him). Derivatives: hesitater n. hesitatingly adv. hesitation n. hesitative adj. Etymology: L haesitare frequent. of haerere haes- stick fast

Webster's 1913 Dictionary

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.] 1. To stop or pause respecting decision or action; to be in suspense or uncertainty as to a determination; as, he hesitated whether to accept the offer or not; men often hesitate in forming a judgment. --Pope. 2. To stammer; to falter in speaking. Syn: To doubt; waver; scruple; deliberate; demur; falter; stammer.

Webster's 1913 Dictionary

Hesitate Hes"i*tate, v. t. To utter with hesitation or to intimate by a reluctant manner. [Poetic & R.] Just hint a fault, and hesitate dislike. --Pope.

Collin's Cobuild Dictionary

(hesitates, hesitating, hesitated) 1. 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 hesitated, debating whether to answer it... VERB: V hesitation (hesitations) Asked if he would go back, Mr Searle said after some hesitation, 'I'll have to think about that'... N-VAR 2. If you hesitate to do something, you delay doing it or are unwilling to do it, usually because you are not certain it would be right. If you do not hesitate to do something, you do it immediately. Some parents hesitate to take these steps because they suspect that their child is exaggerating... VERB: V to-inf 3. You can use hesitate in expressions such as 'don't hesitate to call me' or 'don't hesitate to contact us' when you are telling someone that they should do something as soon as it needs to be done and should not worry about disturbing other people. In the event of difficulties, please do not hesitate to contact our Customer Service Department... VERB: only imper, with neg, V to-inf

Soule's Dictionary of English Synonyms

v. n. 1. Pause, delay, demur, doubt, waver, vacillate, be undetermined, stop to consider, be in doubt, be in suspense, be doubtful. 2. Falter, stammer, have an impediment in speech.

Moby Thesaurus

alternate, back down, balance, balk, be dilatory, blench, boggle, call a recess, debate, delay, deliberate, demur, dither, equivocate, falter, fear, fight shy of, filibuster, flinch, fluctuate, fumble, gain time, halt, hang, hang back, hang fire, hang in doubt, hang off, have qualms, haver, haw, hem, hem and haw, hold back, hold off, hover, hum, hum and haw, jib, let up, make bones about, make time, mammer, pause, play for time, ponder, procrastinate, pull back, quail, recess, recoil, rest, retreat, scruple, shilly-shally, shrink, shrink from, shy, shy at, splutter, sputter, stall, stall for time, stall off, stammer, stick at, stickle, stooge around, stop to consider, straddle the fence, strain, strain at, stumble, stutter, take a recess, talk against time, temporize, tergiversate, think twice, think twice about, vacillate, wait, waver, wince, withdraw, yield


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