Some people don't have the ability to make up their mind. They keep swapping between two (or even more options). I'm not looking for a description of the type of person (like indecisive), but for a verb to describe this kind of behaviour.

Example sentence:

Bob's {swapping behaviour} is really annoying me!

  • 1
    Related: "Analysis Paralysis"
    – Benubird
    Apr 30, 2018 at 10:44
  • "Flakiness" but it's colloquial. Apr 30, 2018 at 12:03
  • Do you mean they can't make up their mind between two (or more) ideas (=_indecisiveness_, IMHO), or they keep switching between two (or more) options (i.e. no consistency, they choose option A on Monday, option B on Tuesday)?
    – TripeHound
    Apr 30, 2018 at 15:17

10 Answers 10


Vacillation would fit your criteria. For example, the 'president's vacillation over foreign policy had far reaching consequences'.


I would definitely say that he was flip-flopping.

  1. Informal. a sudden or unexpected reversal, as of direction, belief, attitude, or policy.


  1. Informal. to make a sudden or unexpected reversal, as of direction, belief, attitude, or policy.


The opposition claimed that the president had flip-flopped on certain issues.


Examples include:

vacillate and its synonyms listed on TFD


indecisiveness TFD

  1. Prone to or characterized by indecision; irresolute: an indecisive manager.
  2. Inconclusive: an indecisive contest; an indecisive battle.
  3. Not clearly defined; indefinite:

Taken from Dictionary.com:

to vacillate or vacillation
The term matches your criteria perfectly, albeit it is not a common word.

to be irresolute or irresolution
In comparison to vacillation, this has the perk of being straightforward to understand.

to dilly-dally

(intransitive) (informal) to loiter or vacillate.

It adds another dimension of meaning due to being informal.

I believe that all three words can be applied to your example sentence.




Example: Bob's dithering is really annoying me!


"Waffling", in keeping with the annoyed tone.


I've also heard "waver" or "wavering": Bob's wavering is really annoying me!


I think you could use "oscillation" :


verb [ I ] UK ​ /ˈɒs.ɪ.leɪt/ US ​ /ˈɑː.səl.eɪt/

to move repeatedly from one position to another:
"The needle on the dial oscillated between full and empty "

[formal] If you oscillate between feelings or opinions, you change repeatedly from one to the other:
"My emotions oscillate between desperation and hope."



alternating between two poles or options

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