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First attested around 1656; variant of daddle (to walk unsteadily), perhaps influenced by daw, since the bird was regarded as sluggish and silly. Not in general use until around 1775.



dawdle (third-person singular simple present dawdles, present participle dawdling, simple past and past participle dawdled)

  1. (intransitive) To spend time idly and unfruitfully, to waste time.
    • 1909, E.M. Forster, “I”, in The Machine Stops:
      I really believe you enjoy dawdling.
    • 2011 October 29, Neil Johnston, “Norwich 3 - 3 Blackburn”, in BBC Sport[1]:
      However all Hennessey's good work went to waste on 52 minutes when he dawdled on the ball.
    • Johnson
      Come some evening and dawdle over a dish of tea with me.
  2. (transitive) To spend (time) without haste or purpose.
    to dawdle away the whole morning
  3. (intransitive) To move or walk lackadaisically.
    • Thackeray
      We [] dawdle up and down Pall Mall.
    If you dawdle on your daily walk, you won't get as much exercise.


See also[edit]


dawdle (plural dawdles)

  1. A dawdler.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Colman & Carrick to this entry?)