- Hesitate is defined as to pause before deciding, acting or speaking.
An example of to hesitate is to stop before walking into the street.
intransitive verbhesitated, hesitating
- to stop because of indecision; pause or delay in acting, choosing, or deciding because of feeling unsure; waver
- to pause; stop momentarily
- to be reluctant; not be sure that one should: hesitating to ask
- to pause continually in speaking; stammer
Origin of hesitate; from Classical Latin haesitatus, past participle of haesitare, to stick fast, hesitate, intensive of haerere, to stick, cleave ; from Indo-European base an unverified form ghais-, to be stuck, neglect from source probably Lithuanian gaištù, to neglect
intransitive verbhes·i·tat·ed, hes·i·tat·ing, hes·i·tates
- To pause or wait in uncertainty: She hesitated for a second before opening the door.
- To be slow to act, speak, or decide: “I have for many months hesitated about the propriety of allowing this, or any part of my narrative, to come before the public eye, until after my death” (Thomas De Quincey).
- To be reluctant: hesitated to pick up the pan, fearing it was hot.
Origin of hesitateLatin haesitāre, haesitāt-, to hesitate, frequentative of haerēre, to hold fast.
(third-person singular simple present hesitates, present participle hesitating, simple past and past participle hesitated)
- (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.
- (intransitive) To stammer; to falter in speaking.
- (poetic, rare) To utter with hesitation or to intimate by a reluctant manner.
- This is a catenative verb that takes the to infinitive.