hesitate

To hesitate is to pause before doing something, often out of concern or worry.

If you're playing basketball and have a wide-open shot but don't take it right away, you hesitated. Maybe you felt too much pressure to shoot the ball. When people are nervous or worried, they tend to hesitate. Hesitating while speaking is common. In class, if you're not sure you have the right answer, you'll hesitate. When giving bad news, people often hesitate. Sometimes it makes sense to hesitate and sometimes you just need to do what you have to do.

Definitions of hesitate
  1. verb
    pause or hold back in uncertainty or unwillingness
    “Authorities hesitate to quote exact figures”
    synonyms: waffle, waver
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    types:
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    dwell on, linger over
    delay
    boggle
    hesitate when confronted with a problem, or when in doubt or fear
    hover, linger
    move to and fro
    hover, oscillate, vacillate, vibrate
    be undecided about something; waver between conflicting positions or courses of action
    falter, waver
    be unsure or weak
    shillyshally
    be uncertain and vague
  2. verb
    interrupt temporarily an activity before continuing
    synonyms: pause
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    types:
    hem and haw
    utter `hems' and `haws'; indicated hesitation
    scruple
    hesitate on moral grounds
    type of:
    delay
    act later than planned, scheduled, or required
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