Definition of falter in English:



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  • 1Lose strength or momentum.

    ‘the music faltered, stopped, and started up again’
    ‘her smile faltered and then faded’
    • ‘Labor's momentum may falter.’
    • ‘It would be a great shame if the momentum were to falter at the last moment.’
    • ‘They decided that if the project showed signs of growth, they'd continue; if it faltered, they'd move in their own directions.’
    • ‘We probably falter unless our choices instinctively prove inherent qualities, be they serious or flippant.’
    • ‘The music faltered for a moment and resumed, just as happy and jaunty as ever.’
    • ‘The influence of the Father or his heirs faltered as the state lost its ability to mobilize an ideological ground.’
    • ‘And, where narrative clarity falters, choreographic invention steps in with unabashed theatricality.’
    • ‘That is not to say we won't fail, falter or lose sight of our intentions.’
    • ‘Where the movie strays from these strengths, it also falters.’
    • ‘They could probably make it as a comedy duo if the music career falters.’
    • ‘Even at this late stage, it is possible that his candidacy will falter.’
    • ‘But then he lost interest, or faltered in the face of opposition from conservatives and other vested interests.’
    • ‘He faltered when he lost his faith in capitalist catastrophe and the workers' revolution.’
    • ‘This is the one hurdle at which most listeners coming in hope, tend to falter and often lose heart and turn away.’
    • ‘Labor's momentum may falter, the ‘It's time’ factor may not have the necessary lift either.’
    • ‘We all clearly understood that if the critical film processing step faltered in any way the entire endeavor would degenerate into a nightmare.’
    • ‘And if this wonderful alchemy of converting risky loans into securities palatable to risk conscious investors falters, the music stops.’
    • ‘I just hope that everyone will remember not only what they need for their side of the community, but what we would all lose if this process falters.’
    • ‘Cultural shifts are long-term and if they lose momentum they can falter altogether.’
    • ‘If the share price faltered, it could lose its investment-grade credit rating and access to long-term credit.’
    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
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    1. 1.1 Speak hesitantly.
      with direct speech ‘‘A-Adam?’ he faltered’
      • ‘He made a motion as if to speak, and then faltered, as if unsure of what to say.’
      • ‘Tesha faltered as she tried to speak and had to clear her throat a couple of times.’
      • ‘‘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.’
      • ‘So I started to talk about it… hesitating and faltering all the way… and I bawled like a baby the entire time.’
      • ‘The bride, who was by tradition slightly late for the ceremony, faltered as she spoke in front of family, friends and celebrities.’
      • ‘He falters, stammers, falls back on grand anachronisms and speaks with a thick accent.’
      • ‘Contrary to many expectations, he didn't falter or even hesitate.’
      • ‘She often falters or delays her answers when she is asked questions about being Indonesian: the nationality, the country and its history.’
      stammer, stutter, stumble, speak haltingly, hesitate, pause, halt, splutter, flounder, blunder, fumble
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    2. 1.2 Move unsteadily or hesitantly.
      ‘he faltered and finally stopped in mid-stride’
      • ‘His steps falter; the dancers seem to embrace him but they let go and he falls.’
      • ‘As I walked on to the stage near the end, accompanied by my ‘family,’ the lights shone bright in my eyes and my step faltered.’
      • ‘If she noticed this, she didn't falter and kept moving holding his hand tight.’
      • ‘It was probably around eight o'clock when she faltered in her steps, opting to go inside the closest building to her left.’
      • ‘The magistrate of the divorce court peered down curiously as the aged couple approached the bench, their steps faltering and uncertain.’
      • ‘Her feet made slight shifts as they momentarily lost footing, but she did not stop, did not falter in her forward momentum, heading toward the East River.’
      • ‘There are plenty of you but don't get cocky - if one of you falters we'll lose our hold.’
      • ‘She focused her eyes on the ‘someone’ walking, and her breath caught, her steps faltering.’
      • ‘She turned to him in surprise, her steps faltering.’
      • ‘I could not see where I stood… and my step was slowly faltering.’
      • ‘My steps faltered as I stalked slower and slower from the building.’
      • ‘She was concentrating on how many ways there were for him not to be on this road that she didn't notice that the traffic was so heavy the cars were going much slower then she was, even if she was breathing heavily, her steps faltering.’
      • ‘In the rain, her step faltered and her eyes betrayed her.’
      • ‘She faltered in her step and almost fell down the stairs.’
      • ‘My steps faltered as I looked over at him in disbelief.’
      • ‘This comment caught Maria off guard, and her steps faltered.’
      • ‘By now, the healthy spring in our steps was faltering.’
      • ‘Slowly and hesitantly she stood, starting across the middle of the room, but her steps faltered and stopped about halfway there.’
      • ‘Christopher clenched his jaw and sent a fleeting glance toward the heavens, his step never faltering.’
      • ‘He falters, taking a step back and showing his fear.’


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