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See also: Dally



  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈdælɪ/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈdæli/
  • (file)
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  • Rhymes: -æli

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English dalyen, from Anglo-Norman delaier


dally (third-person singular simple present dallies, present participle dallying, simple past and past participle dallied)

  1. To waste time in trivial activities, or in idleness; to trifle.
    • (Can we date this quote by Calamy?)
      We have trifled too long already; it is madness to dally any longer.
    • (Can we date this quote by Barrow?)
      We have put off God, and dallied with his grace.
  2. (transitive, intransitive) To caress, especially of a sexual nature; to fondle or pet
  3. To delay unnecessarily; to while away.
  4. To wind the lasso rope (ie throw-rope) around the saddle horn (the saddle horn is attached to the pommel of a western style saddle) after the roping of an animal
    • 2003, Jameson Parker, An Accidental Cowboy, page 89:
      The end of the top rope he dallied around the gooseneck trailer hitch.

Etymology 2[edit]

Possibly from Spanish "dale la vuelta !" ("twist it around !") by law of Hobson-Jobson.


dally (plural dallies)

  1. Several wraps of rope around the saddle horn, used to stop animals in roping.
    • 1947 - Bruce Kiskaddon, Rhymes and Ranches
      What matters is now if he tied hard and fast, / Or tumbled his steer with a dally.