Share this entry

reluctant Line breaks: re|luc¦tant
Pronunciation: /rɪˈlʌkt(ə)nt/

Definition of reluctant in English:

adjective

Unwilling and hesitant; disinclined: [with infinitive]: she seemed reluctant to answer
More example sentences
  • There are a lot of people, though, who would be very reluctant to let our traditional flag go.
  • But people appear increasingly reluctant to intervene in public places.
  • What on earth could be in our files that made them so reluctant to give us access?
Synonyms
unwilling, disinclined, unenthusiastic, grudging, resistant, resisting, opposed, antipathetic;
hesitant
shy, bashful, coy, retiring, diffident, reserved, restrained, withdrawn, shrinking, timid, timorous, sheepish, unconfident, insecure, unsure, suspicious, unassertive;
apprehensive, fearful
rarecostive
loath, unwilling, disinclined, not in the mood, indisposed, sorry, averse, slow;
chary of, not in favour of, against, opposed to;
hesitant about, diffident about, bashful about, shy about, coy about;
ashamed to, afraid to

Origin

Mid 17th century (in the sense 'writhing, offering opposition'): from Latin reluctant- 'struggling against', from the verb reluctari, from re- (expressing intensive force) + luctari 'to struggle'.

More
  • This is a word that has lost much of its strength. The early sense was ‘writhing, offering opposition’ as in Milton's Paradise Lost: ‘Down he fell A Monstrous Serpent on his Belly prone, Reluctant, but in vain’ ( 1667). It is from Latin reluctari ‘struggle against’.

Definition of reluctant in:

Share this entry

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Related Words