English Dictionary

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vacillate (ˈvæsɪˌleɪt Pronunciation for vacillate


verb (intransitive)

  1. to fluctuate in one's opinions; be indecisive
  2. to sway from side to side physically; totter or waver

Derived Forms

ˌvacilˈlation noun
ˈvacilˌlator noun

Word Origin

C16: from Latin vacillāre to sway, of obscure origin


View thesaurus entry
= waver, hesitate, dither, haver, sway, falter, be doubtful, fluctuate, be uncertain, be unsure, teeter, oscillate, be undecided, chop and change, seesaw, blow hot and cold, temporize, hum and haw, be unable to decide, keep changing your mind, shillyshally, be irresolute or indecisive, swither, be unable to make up your mind, dillydally

Example Sentences Including 'vacillate'

In the cases we get now, and the arguments put forward by lawyers for each side, we seem to vacillate helplessly between the two views.
Times, Sunday Times (2004)
The two gunmen, who stormed the bus yesterday morning, later released 16 hostages in stages, and seemed to vacillate on their demands.
SA Star (2004)
You can't vacillate between wanting to be your children's father and their friend.
Ackerman, Robert J. Silent Sons


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