Pronunciation: (hez'i-tāt"),[key] —v.i.,-tat•ed, -tat•ing. 1. to be reluctant or wait to act because of fear, indecision, or disinclination: She hesitated to take the job. 2. to have scruples or doubts; be unwilling: He hesitated to break the law. 3. to pause: I hesitated before reciting the next line. 4. to falter in speech; stammer: Embarrassment caused the speaker to hesitate.