Definition of tentative in English:



  • 1Not certain or fixed; provisional.

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