1. Not fully worked out, concluded, or agreed on; provisional: tentative plans.
2. Indicating a lack of confidence or certainty; hesitant: tentative steps toward the podium.
[Medieval Latin tentātīvus, from Latin tentātus, past participle of tentāre, to try, variant of temptāre.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.