Reluctance means "unwillingness." Your reluctance to travel on an airplane would be understandable if you glimpsed the pilot and copilot wearing party hats and blowing noisemakers.

If you'd rather not do something, you feel a sense of reluctance about it. You pause for a moment, maybe to consider whether you should really go through with it, or just to enjoy the last moment before it happens. The word comes from the Latin reluctari, or to struggle against. There's always a struggle when reluctance is present, in that you feel pressure to do something or in not agreeing right away, someone is going to be disappointed.

Primary Meanings of reluctance

a certain degree of unwillingness
(physics) opposition to magnetic flux (analogous to electric resistance)
Full Definitions of reluctance

n a certain degree of unwillingness

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

n (physics) opposition to magnetic flux (analogous to electric resistance)

Type of:
electrical phenomenon
a physical phenomenon involving electricity

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.