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See also: Delay


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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English delaien, borrowed from Anglo-Norman delaier, Old French deslaier, from des- + Old French laier (to leave), a conflation of Old Frankish *latjan ("to delay, hinder"; from Proto-Germanic *latjaną (to delay, hinder, stall), from Proto-Indo-European *le(y)d- (to leave, leave behind)), and Old Frankish *laibijan ("to leave"; from Proto-Germanic *laibijaną (to leave, cause to stay), from Proto-Indo-European *leyp- (to remain, continue)). Akin to Old English latian (to delay, hesitate), Old English latu (a delay, a hindrance), Old English lǣfan (to leave). More at let (to hinder), late, leave.


  • IPA(key): /dɪˈleɪ/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -eɪ


delay (countable and uncountable, plural delays)

  1. A period of time before an event occurs; the act of delaying; procrastination; lingering inactivity.
    the delay before the echo of a sound
  2. (music) An audio effects unit that introduces a controlled delay.
    • 2014, Hunter, Dave, Guitar Amps and Effects For Dummies, page 259:
      The 8-bit sound quality of many early delays did indeed leave a lot to be desired (compare this to the 16-bit digital technology of CDs)


  • Portuguese: delay


delay (third-person singular simple present delays, present participle delaying, simple past and past participle delayed)

  1. (transitive, intransitive) To put off until a later time; to defer.
  2. To retard; to stop, detain, or hinder, for a time.
    The mail is delayed by a heavy fall of snow.
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 10, in The Celebrity:
      Mr. Cooke had had a sloop yacht built at Far Harbor, the completion of which had been delayed, and which was but just delivered. [] The Maria had a cabin, which was finished in hard wood and yellow plush, and accommodations for keeping things cold.
  3. (transitive, obsolete) To allay; to temper.
    • (Can we date this quote by Edmund Spenser and provide title, author’s full name, and other details?)
      The watery showers delay the raging wind.
Usage notes[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English delaien, from Old French delaiier, a variant of delaissier.


delay (third-person singular simple present delays, present participle delaying, simple past and past participle delayed)

  1. (obsolete) To dilute, temper.
  2. (obsolete) To assuage, quench, allay.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, III.12:
      Those dreadfull flames she also found delayd / And quenched quite like a consumed torch […].

Further reading[edit]




Borrowed from English delay.



delay m (plural delays)

  1. (posh, except in technical contexts) delay (period of time before an event being initiated and actually occurring)
    Synonym: atraso
  2. (audio engineering) delay (effect that produces echo-like repetitions in sound)
  3. (audio engineering) delay (unit that produces a delay effect)