9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[hez-i-teyt] /ˈhɛz ɪˌteɪt/
verb (used without object), hesitated, hesitating.
to be reluctant or wait to act because of fear, indecision, or disinclination:
She hesitated to take the job.
to have scruples or doubts; be unwilling:
He hesitated to break the law.
to pause:
I hesitated before reciting the next line.
to falter in speech; stammer:
Embarrassment caused the speaker to hesitate.
Origin of hesitate
1615-25; < Latin haesitātus, past participle of haesitāre. See hesitant, -ate1
Related forms
hesitater, hesitator, noun
hesitatingly, adverb
prehesitate, verb (used without object), prehesitated, prehesitating.
1. waver, vacillate, falter. 3. demur, delay.
1. decide. 3. hasten. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for hesitate
  • Only the innocent close their eyes in movies, turn from danger, hesitate in fright.
  • He did not hesitate to express his deprecating views.
  • Some countries take breaking the law seriously and do not hesitate to prosecute criminals to the fullest extent of the law.
  • Don't wait to be directed, and don't hesitate to bypass dawdlers.
  • If you are told to evacuate, you shouldn't hesitate.
  • Airlines said they will not hesitate to cancel flights.
  • If you have any questions, or just want to know more, don't hesitate to ask.
  • Don't hesitate to try to contact me if you have any questions.
  • Don't hesitate to negotiate directly with an operator, particularly when you know a trip is nearing departure and is not full.
  • Nevertheless, many gardeners who have never composted hesitate to try because of the prevailing myths about the process.
British Dictionary definitions for hesitate


verb (intransitive)
to hold back or be slow in acting; be uncertain
to be unwilling or reluctant (to do something)
to stammer or pause in speaking
Derived Forms
hesitater, hesitator, noun
hesitatingly, adverb
hesitation, noun
hesitative, adjective
Word Origin
C17: from Latin haesitāre, from haerēre to cling to
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 hesitate

1620s, from Latin haesitatum, past participle of haesitare (see hesitation). Related: Hesitated; hesitating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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