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vacillate

[vas-uh-leyt] /ˈvæs əˌleɪt/
verb (used without object), vacillated, vacillating.
1.
to waver in mind or opinion; be indecisive or irresolute:
His tendency to vacillate makes him a poor leader.
2.
to sway unsteadily; waver; totter; stagger.
3.
to oscillate or fluctuate.
Origin
1590-1600
1590-1600; < Latin vacillātus (past participle of vacillāre to sway to and fro); see -ate1
Related forms
vacillator, noun
Synonyms
1. hesitate. See waver1 . 2. reel.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for vacillate
  • Those who vacillate or sulk, will miss a window of opportunity.
  • He may vacillate awhile longer, perhaps even ultimately settling on a third troop, but he has begun his transfer into adulthood.
  • Indeed, you yourself appear to vacillate between two positions here.
  • Many have left large families behind and some vacillate painfully between staying here permanently or returning.
  • He seems to vacillate between regret and arrogance about the position he is in.
  • When dealing with professionals, many people vacillate between servility and resentment.
  • They vacillate between criticism of others and harsh self-criticism.
  • One third vacillate between adoption as goal, versus another plan for permanent living.
British Dictionary definitions for vacillate

vacillate

/ˈvæsɪˌleɪt/
verb (intransitive)
1.
to fluctuate in one's opinions; be indecisive
2.
to sway from side to side physically; totter or waver
Derived Forms
vacillation, noun
vacillator, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin vacillāre to sway, of obscure origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for vacillate
v.

1590s, "to sway unsteadily," from Latin vacillatum, from vacillare (see vacillation). Meaning "to waver between two opinions or courses" is recorded from 1620s. Related: Vacillated; vacillates; vacillating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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