A lot vs. Alot: 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.
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 hesitating
  • Looking up toward the ceiling, he darted into a back hallway before hesitating.
  • After hesitating a moment, he let the entire crowd into the lobby.
  • The composer seemed to be hesitating at a fork in the road, between hyper-complexity and a kind of minimalist purity.
  • One reason why the army is hesitating is that it knows resistance would greet any move into the red-shirt camp.
  • Without looking back or hesitating for an instant, the couple head straight for a stage exit door and simply disappear.
  • Stylish gifts that raise money for charity are a two-in-one motivator if the holidays have you hesitating.
  • The automatic transmission should shift smoothly without jerking, slipping or hesitating.
  • If you are struggling with individual words as you read, hesitating and stopping your understanding of what you read will suffer.
British Dictionary definitions for hesitating


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 hesitating



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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