Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



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. Compare also German daddeln (to play), German verdaddeln (to waste (time), neglect, ruin).



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.
  2. A slow walk, journey.
    • 2017, Colin G. Pooley, ‎Jean Turnbull, ‎Mags Adams, A Mobile Century?: Changes in Everyday Mobility in Britain in the Twentieth Century[2]:
      For many the journey home from school was not a walk but a 'dawdle'
  3. An easily accomplished task; a doddle.
    • 2009, Archie Macpherson, A Game of Two Halves: The Autobiography[3]:
      He was a QC from Edinburgh, wearing the black jacket and pinstripe trousers of his trade, as if straight from court, and probably persuaded to come in the belief that if you could interest the Budhill and Springboig party in the repressive Gaullist policies in Algeria then becoming Solicitor-General was a dawdle.