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See also: Falter



Middle English falteren (to stagger), probably from a Scandinavian source[1] (compare Old Norse faltrast (be encumbered)) or from a Middle English frequentative of falden, folden (to fold). More at fold.



falter (uncountable)

  1. unsteadiness.



falter (third-person singular simple present falters, present participle faltering, simple past and past participle faltered)

  1. To waver or be unsteady.
    • Wiseman
      He found his legs falter.
  2. (transitive, intransitive) To stammer; to utter with hesitation, or in a weak and trembling manner.
    • Byron
      And here he faltered forth his last farewell.
    • Milton
      With faltering speech and visage incomposed.
  3. To fail in distinctness or regularity of exercise; said of the mind or of thought.
    • I. Taylor
      Here indeed the power of disinct conception of space and distance falters.
  4. To stumble.
  5. (figuratively) To lose faith or vigor; to doubt or abandon (a cause).
  6. To hesitate in purpose or action.
    • Shakespeare
      Ere her native king / Shall falter under foul rebellion's arms.
  7. To cleanse or sift, as barley.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Halliwell to this entry?)