Definition of hesitate verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

      

    hesitate

     verb
    verb
    BrE BrE//ˈhezɪteɪt//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈhezɪteɪt//
     
    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they hesitate
    BrE BrE//ˈhezɪteɪt//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈhezɪteɪt//
     
    he / she / it hesitates
    BrE BrE//ˈhezɪteɪts//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈhezɪteɪts//
     
    past simple hesitated
    BrE BrE//ˈhezɪteɪtɪd//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈhezɪteɪtɪd//
     
    past participle hesitated
    BrE BrE//ˈhezɪteɪtɪd//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈhezɪteɪtɪd//
     
    -ing form hesitating
    BrE BrE//ˈhezɪteɪtɪŋ//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈhezɪteɪtɪŋ//
     
     
    jump to other results
  1. 1  [intransitive, transitive] to be slow to speak or act because you feel uncertain or nervous She hesitated before replying. He seemed to hesitate a second. hesitate about/over something I didn't hesitate for a moment about taking the job. She stood there, hesitating over whether or not to tell him the truth. + speech ‘I'm not sure,’ she hesitated.
  2. 2  [intransitive] hesitate to do something to be worried about doing something, especially because you are not sure that it is right or appropriate Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any queries. If you'd like me to send you the book, then please don't hesitate to ask. More Like This Verbs usually followed by infinitives afford, agree, appear, arrange, attempt, beg, choose, consent, decide, expect, fail, happen, hesitate, hope, intend, learn, manage, mean, neglect, offer, prepare, pretend, promise, refuse, swear, try, want, wishSee worksheet.
  3. Word Origin early 17th cent.: from Latin haesitat- ‘stuck fast, left undecided’, from the verb haesitare, from haerere ‘stick, stay’.Extra examples He stood hesitating over whether to join the fight. He was hesitating between a glass of wine and an orange juice. I barely hesitated before saying yes. I didn’t hesitate about working with Craig. Something about his smile made her hesitate. I didn’t hesitate for a moment about taking the job. If you’d like me to send you the book, then please don’t hesitate to ask.Idioms
    he who hesitates (is lost)
     
    jump to other results
    (saying) if you delay in doing something you may lose a good opportunity
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: hesitate