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[hez-i-tuh nt] /ˈhɛz ɪ tənt/
hesitating; undecided, doubtful, or disinclined.
lacking readiness of speech.
Origin of hesitant
1640-50; < Latin haesitant- (stem of haesitāns), present participle of haesitāre to falter, hesitate, equivalent to haes(us), past participle of haerēre to stick, hold fast + -it- frequentative suffix + -ant- -ant
Related forms
hesitantly, adverb
nonhesitant, adjective
nonhesitantly, adverb
unhesitant, adjective
unhesitantly, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for hesitant
  • Officials have been hesitant to publicly endorse such a drastic change.
  • Many departments will offer these details automatically, but if they don't, you shouldn't be hesitant about asking.
  • But some of his leading colleagues are more hesitant.
  • Watch a bit more, and the hesitant flicks and sags of their antennae seem to convey some kind of emotion.
  • It can guzzle bandwidth and carriers have been hesitant to support the applications.
  • Rous was cautious, hesitant to claim that the microbe causing cancer in chickens was a virus.
  • Federal prosecutors have now cast politicians' hesitant talk of war in legal form.
  • He was hesitant about how well his team could serve personalized results that weren't paltry.
  • The university foundation has been hesitant to turn over information about overseas alumni.
  • Marine researchers are hesitant to say the world's oceans are sicker than usual.
British Dictionary definitions for hesitant


wavering, hesitating, or irresolute
Derived Forms
hesitance, hesitancy, noun
hesitantly, adverb
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 hesitant

1640s, probably a back-formation from hesitancy, or else from Latin haesitantem. Related: Hesitantly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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