Definitions

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

  • adjective Not fully worked out, concluded, or agreed on; provisional.
  • adjective Indicating a lack of confidence or certainty; hesitant.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Based on or consisting in trial or experiment; experimental; empirical.
  • noun An essay; a trial; an experiment.

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

  • adjective Of or pertaining to a trial or trials; essaying; experimental.
  • noun An essay; a trial; an experiment.

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

  • noun A trial; an experiment.
  • adjective Of or pertaining to a trial or trials; essaying; experimental.
  • adjective Uncertain; subject to future change.

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

  • adjective under terms not final or fully worked out or agreed upon
  • adjective unsettled in mind or opinion

Etymologies

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

[Medieval Latin tentātīvus, from Latin tentātus, past participle of tentāre, to try, variant of temptāre.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French tentatif, from Latin tentativus ("trying, testing"), from tento, past participle tentatus ("to try, test"); see tent, tempt.

Examples

  • Her expression tentative, she moved slowly toward the chair facing him and hesitantly sat down on it.

    I’ll Walk Alone

  • Her expression tentative, she moved slowly toward the chair facing him and hesitantly sat down on it.

    'I'll Walk Alone'

  • The comments from the E.C.B. president, Mario Draghi, came after the bank's decision to keep its benchmark interest rate steady, amid what it called "tentative" signs that the pace of an economic downturn in Europe had stabilized.

    NYT > Home Page

  • The comments from the E.C.B. president, Mario Draghi, came after the bank's decision to keep its benchmark interest rate steady, amid what it called "tentative" signs that the pace of an economic downturn in Europe had stabilized.

    NYT > Global Home

  • Department of Agriculture and Centers for Disease Control issued what they called tentative proposed standards for food marketed to children, defined as up to age

    Reuters: Top News

  • As adults they remain tentative, withdrawn, and anxious.

    The Science of Success

  • As adults they remain tentative, withdrawn, and anxious.

    The Science of Success

  • For the most part, the links between particular traits and transmitter levels remain tentative, partly because the former can involve neurochemical choruses, not just solos.

    How We Become What We Are

  • For the most part, the links between particular traits and transmitter levels remain tentative, partly because the former can involve neurochemical choruses, not just solos.

    How We Become What We Are

  • Since the end of the war, the U.S. has engaged in tentative "talks" with the countries of Southeast Asia, primarily Vietnam, which has resulted in the return of several hundred sets of American remains.

    Lawrence, Gregory P.

Comments

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  • I love to say words that have a lot of ts. I like the rhythm sound when I say it.

    January 4, 2007

  • kellerman-flesh and blood: "I got out of the car, descended toward the construction site on foot, using a tentative quarter moon as my compass."

    November 12, 2010