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tentative
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tentative
as in:  said it tentatively


The puppy approached us tentatively until it knew we wouldn’t harm it.
  done in a careful or unsure way (indicating a lack of confidence in exactly what will happen)
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tentative tentatively tentativeness
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Samples:
  • The puppy approached us tentatively until it knew we wouldn’t harm it.
  • She took a tentative step to see if her injured ankle would support her weight.
  • She peels one hand off her ear tentatively, experimenting.
    Lauren Oliver  --  Before I Fall
  • He kisses me tentatively on the lips, almost as if he’s scared to touch me again.
    Colleen Hoover  --  Hopeless

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  • A smile appears again, this time fleeting, tentative.
    Lauren Oliver  --  Delirium
  • And then he kisses me. Tentatively at first, waiting for something, but there isn’t any need. I would kiss him forever.
    Katja Millay  --  The Sea of Tranquility
  • The chief was smiling broadly now. Tentatively I smiled back.
    Corrie Ten Boom  --  The Hiding Place
  • I took a tentative step, then another.
    Alexandra Bracken  --  The Darkest Minds
  • She dropped to her knees and gave the tail a tentative tug.
    Kate DiCamillo  --  Flora & Ulysses
  • Now, when we have this tentative trust, may be my only chance to kill him.
    Suzanne Collins  --  Catching Fire

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  • I smile tentatively and smooth down my hair.
    Simone Elkeles  --  Perfect Chemistry
  • Was that a tiny, tentative knock at the door?
    Sara Shepard  --  Pretty Little Liars
  • But somehow their caress felt soft and tentative.
    Scott Westerfeld  --  Uglies
  • Tentatively he began to ride in daylight.
    Lois Lowry  --  The Giver
  • I tentatively bite into one, and it’s as good as our blackberries.
    Suzanne Collins  --  The Hunger Games
  • But I revisit my conversation with Haymitch and try to take the first tentative step in Peeta’s direction.
    Suzanne Collins  --  Mockingjay
  • He returned to shallow tentative breaths, drawing air past his lips as if he were sipping from a straw.
    Ben Mikaeslen  --  Touching Spirit Bear
  • "Being married might be scary," Hannah agreed tentatively.
    Jane Yolen  --  The Devils Arithmetic
  • Several hands rose tentatively into the air, including Ron’s and Hermione’s.
    J.K. Rowling  --  Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  • "You think there’s a path through those woods?" he asked in his mild tentative voice when I got near.
    John Knowles  --  A Separate Peace
  • The cow mooed, put one hoof tentatively on the bars, then backed away.
    Rick Riordan  --  The Battle of the Labyrinth
  • She looked up from a magazine, and I offered a tentative smile.
    Nicholas Sparks  --  Dear John
  • When he spoke, his voice was at once tentative and urgent.
    Nicholas Sparks  --  The Last Song
  • Then she leans in and kisses me, a gentle kiss, tentative but lingering.
    Sara Gruen  --  Water for Elephants
  • I walked up to the door and knocked, tentative and soft.
    Alex Flinn  --  Beastly
  • They approached the doorway tentatively.
    Eoin Colfer  --  Artemis Fowl
  • tentative greetings
    Toni Morrison  --  Beloved
  • He waved at me, and I waved back, tentatively,
    Sarah Dessen  --  Just Listen
  • Tentatively, I reached down and touched it.
    Sylvia Plath  --  The Bell Jar
  • "I guess … the chariot," she said tentatively.
    Rick Riordan  --  The Lightning Thief
  • She reached out tentatively, as if she wanted to take his hand but was afraid he might evaporate.
    Rick Riordan  --  The Son of Neptune
  • ’Doctor,’ said the patient tentatively.
    Kurt Vonnegut  --  Slaughterhouse-Five
  • A few tentative hands went up—
    Rick Riordan  --  The Titan’s Curse
  • He remembered asking his father, tentatively, afraid that he was invading his privacy, how much it had hurt him to start life over, to give up his old life, his career, his friends.
    Robert Cormier  --  I Am the Cheese
  • She waits several seconds, trying to make up her mind about something, and looks at RUTH a little tentatively before going on.
    Lorraine Hansberry  --  A Raisin in the Sun
  • Quietly, tentatively, Harry spoke into the darkness.
    J.K. Rowling  --  Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  • His legs were weak and his hip joints stiff and painful, but he took a few tentative steps, holding to the window frames.
    Hal Borland  --  When the Legends Die
  • I’d finally loaded my camera and tentatively taken a few pictures, just objects and still lifes, no faces yet.
    Sarah Dessen  --  Dreamland
  • Again, tentatively, he felt his coat sleeve.
    Agatha Christie  --  The ABC Murders
  • She rose to her feet and stood tentatively near the doorway.
    Robert Cormier  --  After the First Death
  • When he first put his arms around me, it was tentative, like maybe he expected I’d pull away.
    Sarah Dessen  --  The Truth About Forever
  • Julie stepped forward tentatively, and when Mike didn’t back away, she came closer and leaned into him.
    Nicholas Sparks  --  The Guardian
  • Then, tentatively, he came closer, then a bit closer still, until finally...
    Sarah Dessen  --  Lock and Key
  • Running her hand through his hair, she moved her mouth tentatively to his cheek, then to his lips.
    Nicholas Sparks  --  Message in a Bottle
  • I looked down, then sucked in my breath so fast I almost choked. I was standing on a translucent platform suspended high over the sewer system. I wanted to scream, feeling off-balance and scared. ... I swallowed hard and tried to get a grip. Tentatively, I glanced down again at the translucent surface.
    James Patterson  --  The Angel Experiment
  • Old people walked tentatively, took careful steps, used rubber-tipped sticks to keep them safe.
    David Almond  --  Kit’s Wilderness
  • Those tenuous, tentative first life-impressions have scattered like reflections in a pond under the swirling hand of an older brother or sister saying, I remember the day you ate the rat poison, Carlos, or, I remember the day you fell down the stairs… He has heard Laura in the living room speaking with two men, one of them with a ripply, tricky voice, the other with a coarser voice, a thicker laugh, a big man, no doubt.
    Julia Alvarez  --  How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents
  • he sat down and pumped the pedals and very tentatively,
    Margaret Craven  --  I Heard the Owl Call My Name
  • He approached tentatively, stopping several feet away.
    Henry H. Neff  --  The Second Siege
  • Tentatively, I pushed open the door, peering in.
    Sarah Dessen  --  Along for the Ride
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Associated words [difficulty]:   tentative [1]
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Most commonly used in these subjects:   Human Behavior, Logic & Reasoning, Science
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