Why was clemency trending last week?


[fawl-ter] /ˈfɔl tər/
verb (used without object)
to hesitate or waver in action, purpose, intent, etc.; give way:
Her courage did not falter at the prospect of hardship.
to speak hesitatingly or brokenly.
to move unsteadily; stumble.
verb (used with object)
to utter hesitatingly or brokenly:
to falter an apology.
the act of faltering; an unsteadiness of gait, voice, action, etc.
a faltering sound.
Origin of falter
1300-50; Middle English falteren, of obscure origin; perhaps akin to Old Norse faltrast to bother with, be troubled with
Related forms
falterer, noun
falteringly, adverb
nonfaltering, adjective
nonfalteringly, adverb
unfaltering, adjective
unfalteringly, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for falter
  • The normally recession proof sector has begun to falter.
  • O'Hara's fascination with these details led him to falter as a writer.
  • The less-numerous orchids, meanwhile, may falter in some environments but can excel in those that suit them.
  • But if these companies falter, some of the others are likely to take their place.
  • He can be quick to dismiss those who falter as incompetent or lacking in motivation.
  • If the authorities have to slam on the brakes, the property market will falter, jeopardising loans to developers and builders.
  • They said it was too early to pinpoint what had caused the two engines to falter.
  • In times of chaos and crisis, even the best leaders can falter and fail.
  • In addition, the benefit does not change or drop when stock markets falter.
  • Absent continued momentum and necessary future investments, current initiatives may falter.
British Dictionary definitions for falter


(intransitive) to be hesitant, weak, or unsure; waver
(intransitive) to move unsteadily or hesitantly; stumble
to utter haltingly or hesitantly; stammer
uncertainty or hesitancy in speech or action
a quavering or irregular sound
Derived Forms
falterer, noun
falteringly, adverb
Word Origin
C14: probably of Scandinavian origin; compare Icelandic faltrast
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for falter

mid-14c., of unknown origin, possibly from a Scandinavian source (cf. Old Norse faltrask "be burdened, hesitate, be troubled"), or a frequentative of Middle English falden "to fold," influenced by fault. Related: Faltered; faltering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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