Definition of falter in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈfɔːltə/
Pronunciation: /ˈfɒltə/


[no object]
1Lose strength or momentum: the music faltered, stopped, and started up again (as adjective faltering) his faltering career
More example sentences
  • Cultural shifts are long-term and if they lose momentum they can falter altogether.
  • They could probably make it as a comedy duo if the music career falters.
  • The music faltered for a moment and resumed, just as happy and jaunty as ever.
hesitate, delay, drag one's feet, stall, think twice, get cold feet, change one's mind, waver, oscillate, fluctuate, vacillate, be undecided, be indecisive, be irresolute, see-saw, yo-yo;
British  haver, hum and haw
informal sit on the fence, dilly-dally, shilly-shally, pussyfoot around, blow hot and cold
rare tergiversate
1.1Speak hesitantly: [with direct speech]: ‘A-Adam?’ he faltered
More example sentences
  • The bride, who was by tradition slightly late for the ceremony, faltered as she spoke in front of family, friends and celebrities.
  • He made a motion as if to speak, and then faltered, as if unsure of what to say.
  • ‘My brother, Rufus,’ Regina said with a tone that seemed to falter as she gazed up at Baldwin with a serious look on her face.
stammer, stutter, stumble, speak haltingly, hesitate, pause, halt, splutter, flounder, blunder, fumble
1.2Move unsteadily or hesitantly: he faltered and finally stopped in mid-stride
More example sentences
  • If she noticed this, she didn't falter and kept moving holding his hand tight.
  • His steps falter; the dancers seem to embrace him but they let go and he falls.
  • Slowly and hesitantly she stood, starting across the middle of the room, but her steps faltered and stopped about halfway there.



Example sentences
  • He would not be a falterer and would be worthy of trust as people would have faith in his words and actions and would do whatever he said.
  • “You missed your chance, falterer,” said the Judge severely.


Pronunciation: /ˈfɔːltərɪŋli/
Pronunciation: /ˈfɒltərɪŋli/
Example sentences
  • ‘Hoji has someone else in his heart now’, Kishi began falteringly.
  • He hesitated once more on the cracked front step, peering in vain at the dark windows, and finally knocked falteringly.
  • Aimee smiled falteringly and started the first of many, many conversations.


Late Middle English (in the senses 'stammer' and 'stagger'): perhaps from the verb fold1 (which was occasionally used of the faltering of the legs or tongue) + -ter as in totter.

Words that rhyme with falter

altar, alter, assaulter, defaulter, Gibraltar, halter, Malta, palter, psalter, salter, vaulter, Walter

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: fal¦ter

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.

Related Words