Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To be unsteady in purpose or action, as from loss of courage or confidence; waver.
  • intransitive verb To speak hesitatingly; stammer.
  • intransitive verb To move unsteadily or haltingly; stumble.
  • intransitive verb To become weak, ineffective, or unsteady, especially in performance.
  • noun Unsteadiness in speech or action.
  • noun A faltering sound.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To be unsteady; tremble; totter: as, his legs falter.
  • To fail in accuracy, distinctness, or regularity of exercise or function; fail or waver from physical or moral weakness, emotion, etc.
  • To hesitate, especially to hesitate in the utterance of words; speak with a broken or trembling utterance; stammer: as, his tongue falters.
  • Synonyms Stutter, etc. See stammer.
  • noun The act of faltering, hesitating, trembling, stammering, or the like; unsteadiness; hesitation; trembling; quavering.
  • To thresh in the chaff; cleanse or sift out, as barley.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb Prov. Eng. To thrash in the chaff; also, to cleanse or sift, as barley.
  • intransitive verb To hesitate; to speak brokenly or weakly; to stammer.
  • intransitive verb To tremble; to totter; to be unsteady.
  • intransitive verb To hesitate in purpose or action.
  • intransitive verb To fail in distinctness or regularity of exercise; -- said of the mind or of thought.
  • noun Hesitation; trembling; feebleness; an uncertain or broken sound.
  • transitive verb To utter with hesitation, or in a broken, trembling, or weak manner.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun unsteadiness.
  • verb To waver or be unsteady.
  • verb To stammer.
  • verb To stumble.
  • verb figuratively To lose faith or vigor; to doubt or abandon (a cause).

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb walk unsteadily
  • noun the act of pausing uncertainly
  • verb speak haltingly
  • verb be unsure or weak
  • verb move hesitatingly, as if about to give way

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English falteren, to stagger, possibly from Old Norse faltrask, to be puzzled, hesitate.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English falteren ("to stagger"), probably from a Scandinavian source (compare Old Norse faltrast, be encumbered) or from a Middle English frequentative of falden, folden ("to fold"). More at fold.

Examples

  • Two quarterbacks, three sacks, four plays, and I'm wondering, does Tice think the word falter'' applies. real_rick at 10:16 PM August 15, 2011

    News - chicagotribune.com

  • After two weeks, Iron Man 2 will falter from the top spot to make room for the fourth Shrek film, which should have a huge weekend.

    Flixnjoystix.com! » This Week@The Movies: SHREK, MacGRUBER, & More! McJeffrey Looks At This Weekend’s Cinematic Offerings!

  • Instead, our knee-jerk reactions to the anxiety we experience when our relationships falter is to give up on the challenges of intimacy before we really know what is next.

    Wendy Strgar: Voting with a Patient Heart

  • Instead, our knee-jerk reactions to the anxiety we experience when our relationships falter is to give up on the challenges of intimacy before we really know what is next.

    Wendy Strgar: Voting with a Patient Heart

  • It did not work so happily with his spoken wish for a freeze of Israeli settlements; and he has seen the word falter on the verge of the deed once more, in the wish for a comprehensive health care bill before the summer or before Thanksgiving.

    David Bromwich: The Afghanistan Parenthesis [UPDATED]

  • Seeing her expression falter slightly at this, he pressed his advantage, stretching out a hand to her and speaking kindly.

    Drums of Autumn

  • She was gratified to see Hal's expression falter, just for a moment.

    Sepulchre

  • But, clearly, not only will he need to be at his absolute best to ascend to the podium, he'll need most of the skaters ahead of him to falter, which is unlikely.

    Winnipeg Sun

  • But, clearly, not only will he need to be at his absolute best to ascend to the podium, he'll need most of the skaters ahead of him to falter, which is unlikely.

    Winnipeg Sun

  • But, clearly, not only will he need to be at his absolute best to ascend to the podium, he'll need most of the skaters ahead of him to falter, which is unlikely.

    Edmonton Sun

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.