"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[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 faltering
  • The technology is faltering so badly that many electronics firms are reining in plans to offer it.
  • With the business market for the phonograph faltering, manufacturers scrambled to come up with other applications.
  • The swan murmurs sweet strains with a faltering tongue, itself the singer of its own dirge.
  • Green means they're doing well, yellow means they're faltering, and red means they might fail.
  • Millions of layoffs would follow their demise, they said, as damaging effects rippled across an already-faltering economy.
  • The bad news is that brain function begins faltering far earlier in life than previously thought.
  • Carmakers and other faltering firms have cut marketing budgets, and work is harder to come by.
  • Lower returns and faltering reforms may make firms coy about sinking money into the ground.
  • And when the national champion is faltering, there is a fair chance politicians will consider it too big to fail.
  • Under every government since then, the pace of reform has been faltering, but the direction has never changed.
British Dictionary definitions for faltering


(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 faltering



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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