waffle

You might think of a waffle as a grid-patterned pancake-like food that's tasty with syrup, and you'd be right. But the word is also a verb that means to avoid making a definitive decision.

The verb waffle seems to have its origins in the 1690s as the word waff, "to yelp," possibly in imitation of the yelping of dogs. The word soon came to mean "to talk foolishly" and then eventually "to vacillate, to change." The food term waffle, as part of "waffle iron," appeared in 1794, a descendant of the Dutch word wafel, which comes from the same Germanic source as weave: it's easy to see the waffle pattern as similar to a woven fabric.

Definitions of waffle
  1. noun
    pancake batter baked in a waffle iron
    see moresee less
    types:
    Belgian waffle
    thick sweet waffle often eaten with ice cream or fruit sauce
    type of:
    cake
    baked goods made from or based on a mixture of flour, sugar, eggs, and fat
  2. verb
    pause or hold back in uncertainty or unwillingness
    synonyms: hesitate, waver
    see moresee less
    types:
    show 6 types...
    hide 6 types...
    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
Word Family
EDITOR’S CHOICE

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.

SAT/PSAT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

TOEFL

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

ACT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week