Definition of tentative in English:



  • 1Not certain or fixed; provisional.

    ‘a tentative conclusion’
    • ‘While such research is illuminating, its conclusions are always tentative and probabilistic.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, NASA presented a tentative exploration strategy paper at the international workshop.’
    • ‘Field notes and memos that explored tentative meanings from the data enhanced conclusion drawing.’
    • ‘It was a kind of empire built on very provisional and tentative things that might happen.’
    • ‘But sometimes, it would just be a little tentative exploration of the idea that some of the official stories of world events might not be the full truth.’
    • ‘Now, I may finally keep track of my journey with solid dates, instead of tentative time periods.’
    • ‘My tentative conclusion: The Administration should lead, without focusing too much on the polls.’
    • ‘The inspector steered him towards the Ministry of Agriculture and the plan got a tentative tick - with provisos.’
    • ‘Based on this, my tentative conclusion is that the ‘moral values’ vote is a red herring.’
    • ‘Given the small size of the population I have considered, my own conclusions are necessarily tentative.’
    • ‘But the official also stressed that the report was based on tentative conclusions and said the analysis is not yet final.’
    • ‘Court officials said the new dates are tentative and may still change depending on how the motion to consolidate the charges is resolved.’
    • ‘Our findings provide preliminary and highly tentative impressions.’
    • ‘Organizers expect the park to be skate ready for a tentative kick-off date of September 30 this year.’
    • ‘To arrive at some tentative answers to these questions we might first consider some winners and losers.’
    • ‘Mape members begin voting on a tentative contract agreement this week, with results expected November 20.’
    • ‘At this stage, however, ideas about what causes the link between early mental ability and risk for dementia are only tentative.’
    • ‘If these approvals are established, the tentative starting date would be September 2005.’
    • ‘There is enough data for us to draw more than tentative conclusions as to their future performance.’
    • ‘The two organisations are already exploring tentative plans to meet and discuss a joint approach to developing a national stadium.’
    provisional, unconfirmed, unsettled, indefinite, pencilled in, preliminary, to be confirmed, tbc, subject to confirmation
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    1. 1.1 Done without confidence; hesitant.
      ‘he eventually tried a few tentative steps round his hospital room’
      • ‘What began as a tentative dance has become a passionate embrace.’
      • ‘So when I strapped on a pair of skis two years ago, it was a rather tentative individual who stepped on the snow.’
      • ‘Alice was a touch tentative about what she said to Seth that night.’
      • ‘It's a whole combination of things, that's what I was trying to say, the ability to draw is just the first tentative step.’
      • ‘If you're taking tentative steps up the professional ladder, consider all the options.’
      • ‘Without the weight of the anklets she felt as though she were floating - each step was like a tentative attempt at takeoff.’
      • ‘Just then, there was the sound of three tentative knocks, and the man clad in the wolf costume turned around.’
      • ‘It's an ideal place to make those tentative first dives in the ocean.’
      • ‘Bebbens cleared his throat and took a tentative step forward.’
      • ‘Three tiger cubs born in Scotland will this week take their first tentative steps into the great outdoors.’
      • ‘With the help of hospital physio teams, Dawn has taken her first tentative steps on false legs this month.’
      • ‘I slowed down to a tentative walk as I stepped onto Myra's walkway.’
      • ‘It would destroy any tentative revival of confidence and spending.’
      • ‘There was nothing tentative about Bill's technique.’
      • ‘The first tentative steps towards allowing women to become bishops was taken by the Church of England's parliament yesterday.’
      • ‘Some athletes return from injuries a little tentative.’
      • ‘Through their daughters they made the first tentative steps towards friendship.’
      • ‘It was just about 12 years ago that I sat on my living room floor, watching Natalie take her first tentative steps.’
      • ‘Both sides began in the tentative fashion that was to be expected in a winner-takes-all contest.’
      • ‘Some local authorities, including Liverpool, have already taken tentative steps towards a ban on smoking.’
      hesitant, uncertain, cautious, unconfident, timid, hesitating, faltering, shaky, unsteady, halting
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Late 16th century: from medieval Latin tentativus, from tentare, variant of temptare ‘handle, try’.