dilly-dally

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See also: dillydally and dilly dally

English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Reduplication of dally.

Pronunciation[edit]

Verb[edit]

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

  1. (intransitive) To dawdle; to waste time; to procrastinate.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:loiter, Thesaurus:procrastinate
    • 1881–1882, Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island, London; Paris: Cassell & Company, published 14 November 1883, OCLC 702939134:
      It is something to have been an old soldier, but more still to have been a doctor. There is no time to dilly-dally in our work.
    • 1899, Booth Tarkington, The Gentleman from Indiana, New York, N.Y.: Doubleday & McClure Co., published 1900, OCLC 4259777:
      “I wouldn't dilly-dally long if I were you,” said Harkless, and his advice seemed good to the shell-men.
    • 1905, Jack London, War of the Classes[1]:
      It likewise manifests the frankness of men who do not dilly-dally with terms, but who say what they mean, and who mean to settle down to a long, hard fight.
    • 2022 March 20, Jason Bailey, “‘Basic Instinct’ at 30: A Time Capsule That Can Still Offend”, in The New York Times[2], ISSN 0362-4331:
      No one can accuse the filmmakers of dillydallying; no sooner have the opening credits ended than we’re watching, via a mirrored ceiling, a couple writhing naked in coital ecstasy.

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