A hesitation is a pause. If your friend asks you, "Do you like my new haircut?" you'd better make sure there's not a second's hesitation before you answer, "Yes, of course!"

Hesitation happens when you feel uncertainty or doubt. It can be a pause in speech, a faltering moment before you act, or a silent second of indecision. If your friend's dog is growling and staring you down, but she tells you he won't bite, that feeling that something not feeling right that stops you from petting him is hesitation. The Latin root of hesitation is haesitationem, which means irresolution or uncertainty.

Definitions of hesitation

n the act of pausing uncertainly

“there was a hesitation in his speech”
falter, faltering, waver
Type of:
temporary inactivity

n a certain degree of unwillingness

“after some hesitation he agreed”
disinclination, hesitancy, indisposition, reluctance
sloth, slothfulness
a disinclination to work or exert yourself
Type of:
involuntariness, unwillingness
the trait of being unwilling

n indecision in speech or action

vacillation, wavering
Type of:
indecision, indecisiveness, irresolution
doubt concerning two or more possible alternatives or courses of action

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