verb (used without object), hes·i·tat·ed, hes·i·tat·ing.
- to be reluctant or wait to act because of fear, indecision, or disinclination: She hesitated to take the job.
- to have scruples or doubts; be unwilling: He hesitated to break the law.
- to pause: I hesitated before reciting the next line.
- to falter in speech; stammer: Embarrassment caused the speaker to hesitate.
- to hold back or be slow in acting; be uncertain
- to be unwilling or reluctant (to do something)
- to stammer or pause in speaking
1620s, from Latin haesitatum, past participle of haesitare (see hesitation). Related: Hesitated; hesitating.