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Alternative forms[edit]


From Latin haesitatus, past participle of haesitare, intensive of haerere (to hesitate, stick fast; to hang or hold fast). Displaced native Old English wandian.


  • IPA(key): /ˈhɛzɪteɪt/
  • (file)


hesitate (third-person singular simple present hesitates, present participle hesitating, simple past and past participle hesitated)

  1. (intransitive) To stop or pause respecting decision or action; to be in suspense or uncertainty as to a determination.
    He hesitated whether to accept the offer or not; men often hesitate in forming a judgment.
    • September 1, 1742, Alexander Pope, letter to Racine
      I shall not hesitate to declare myself very cordially, in regard to some particulars about which you have desired an answer.
  2. (intransitive) To stammer; to falter in speaking.
  3. (transitive, poetic, rare) To utter with hesitation or to intimate by a reluctant manner.
    • a. 1724, Alexander Pope, The Ms. at Longleat
      Just hint a fault, and hesitate dislike.

Usage notes[edit]


Derived terms[edit]


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Further reading[edit]