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tentative Line breaks: ten¦ta|tive
Pronunciation: /ˈtɛntətɪv/

Definition of tentative in English:


1Not certain or fixed; provisional: a tentative conclusion
More example sentences
  • It was a kind of empire built on very provisional and tentative things that might happen.
  • The inspector steered him towards the Ministry of Agriculture and the plan got a tentative tick - with provisos.
  • There is enough data for us to draw more than tentative conclusions as to their future performance.
provisional, unconfirmed, unsettled, indefinite, pencilled in, preliminary, to be confirmed, TBC, subject to confirmation;
speculative, conjectural, untried, unproven, unsubstantiated;
exploratory, experimental, trial, test, pilot
rare provisory, provisionary
1.1Done without confidence; hesitant: he eventually tried a few tentative steps round his hospital room
More example sentences
  • Alice was a touch tentative about what she said to Seth that night.
  • Some athletes return from injuries a little tentative.
  • It's an ideal place to make those tentative first dives in the ocean.
hesitant, uncertain, cautious, unconfident, timid, hesitating, faltering, shaky, unsteady, halting;
wavering, unsure, doubtful, diffident
informal iffy


Pronunciation: /ˈtɛntətɪvli/
Example sentences
  • With the weathermen tentatively giving clement weather, it should be an enjoyable day for all.
  • Gradually they came closer and closer, tentatively pecking at crumbs.
  • I had tentatively agreed to an outing with my friend that lives in Cambridge.
Pronunciation: /ˈtɛntətɪvnəs/
Example sentences
  • However, he played with some uncertainty and tentativeness, and no one is sure just how durable he will be.
  • It has a kind of pre-meditated tentativeness; a deliberate uncertainty.
  • Despite the tentativeness of the headline, do not doubt that the mediation will occur.


Late 16th century: from medieval Latin tentativus, from tentare, variant of temptare 'handle, try'.

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