Definition of vacillate in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈvasɪleɪt/


[no object]
Waver between different opinions or actions; be indecisive: I vacillated between teaching and journalism
More example sentences
  • Since the time of his death informed opinion has vacillated between near universal confidence in his guilt and passionate attempts to exonerate him.
  • However, years of indecisiveness have left the company vacillating between a differentiation strategy and that of being a cost leader.
  • Ask her for an opinion, and she'll give it to you without any hesitation or attempts to vacillate.
dither, be indecisive, be irresolute, be undecided, be uncertain, be unsure, be doubtful, waver, teeter, temporize, hesitate, oscillate, fluctuate, keep changing one's mind;
British  haver, hum and haw;
Scottish  swither
informal dilly-dally, shilly-shally, blow hot and cold
irresolute, hesitant, tentative, dithering, wavering, teetering, fluctuating, ambivalent, divided, doubtful, unsure, uncertain, in two minds, undecided, indefinite, unresolved, undetermined
informal dilly-dallying, shilly-shallying, iffy, blowing hot and cold



Example sentences
  • He said the scrutiny of history was indeed a very cold, harsh and objective spotlight that in time will reveal all vacillators to be men of talk but not action.
  • He mocked his challenger as a vacillator who could spend the whole time debating himself.
  • They view him as a vacillator whose tactical shifts in the face of foreign pressure have been unpardonable.


Late 16th century (in the sense 'sway unsteadily'): from Latin vacillat- 'swayed', from the verb vacillare.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: vacil|late

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