Definition of dawdle in English:

dawdle

verb

[NO OBJECT]
  • 1Waste time; be slow.

    ‘she mustn't dawdle—she had to make the call now’
    • ‘The Greek international dawdled and as he did so his captain stepped out of midfield and waved his arms madly at him.’
    • ‘He dawdled on the ball at the corner flag and, when he should have been launching an attack, allowed Barry Nicholson to rob him.’
    • ‘Don't dawdle - questions must reach us by next Wednesday.’
    • ‘No one dawdles or idles there, yet they just manage to cope with the job.’
    • ‘Are you dawdling, putting off doing the things that would help you move closer to the end result?’
    • ‘He compared children's TV to a lazy caterpillar dawdling on a leaf.’
    • ‘One thing that made her furious was that she could never afford to dawdle or look uncertain when she was in public.’
    • ‘You may not be a hard pusher for one of your shortcomings may be that you dawdle a bit.’
    • ‘They dawdled and were successful in wasting the whole period in taking a single picture each.’
    • ‘When we are trying to go somewhere I sometimes feel that S. is dawdling and delaying.’
    • ‘Not a lot of time for dawdling around in cafés and coffee bars today.’
    • ‘Those who dawdled with their doubts were diverting attention from important government work.’
    • ‘It was getting colder, the night drew in too quickly for his liking, and it was already dark as he left school and the thoughts that played on his mind slowed his walk and so he dawdled.’
    • ‘When dawdling in Waterstones, the self-help aisle rarely calls my name.’
    • ‘It shouldn't have taken us too long, but somehow we were slow, and we dawdled, and chatted, and I realised quite suddenly that we were going to be late.’
    • ‘When the school run was necessitated, it was because I had dawdled over breakfast.’
    • ‘We were dawdling in the car park, when suddenly our bus came barelling round the corner.’
    • ‘I had dawdled a little bit at the beginning so I could keep back with the girls, but the rest of the run had felt a lot faster to me.’
    • ‘Denny took my hand and tugged me toward the Saturn as I dawdled a bit.’
    • ‘So slowly Ella dawdled outside where she found Maddie sitting on the bench of a picnic table staring at a group of boys who were playing a game of touch football in the school yard.’
    linger, dally, take one's time, drag one's feet, be slow, waste time, kill time, fritter time away, idle
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1with adverbial of direction Move slowly and idly in a particular direction.
      ‘Ruth dawdled back through the wood’
      • ‘Yet it had all started so promisingly that those fans who dawdled on their way to the match might have missed the first try.’
      • ‘For a couple of the hottest nights we slept up on deck, too, watching the satellites dawdle across the Milky Way’
      • ‘I've seen plenty of them, dawdling down the footpath, checking out the gardens, smiling away at everyone.’
      • ‘We dawdled in the general direction of the city and then sat around in Bow looking down at the cars zizzing past at high speed.’
      • ‘There's not much to do here but fish, dive, watch the sun sizzle down into the Indian Ocean and to dawdle your bicycle along the island's one path.’
      • ‘As we dawdled along Sean asked me, ‘What would you say if I told you I loved you?’’
      • ‘I moved on and turned right away from the docks and dawdled along doing some inconsequential window-shopping as I went.’
      • ‘Actually we dawdled through Dulwich Village and then hurried to the Park just as it was closing.’
      • ‘For a Saturday the store was very busy, as customers dawdled up and down the newly stocked aisles.’
      • ‘Rail chiefs say the whistle is so loud it makes passengers hurry onto trains rather than dawdling along the platform - and makes trains stick to timetables.’
      • ‘Led by a fully qualified fitness instructor, there's no time for dawdling around the centre and doing a little window shopping.’
      • ‘I slowed my pace and dawdled along the edge of the river.’
      • ‘We could have dawdled around Kettlewell's charming nooks and crannies but had a hill to climb, no less a lump than Great Whernside.’
      • ‘It was quite funny coming back - Clare, Sandra and I decided to dawdle back to the History Room, so went along the Middle Corridor, and stood there waving to people on the Art Room balcony.’
      • ‘As I dawdled through a hamlet with about 10 miles to go, I noticed my handling seemed to be going and stopped.’
      • ‘It dawdles across the sky and sets slowly at a glancing angle.’
      • ‘American hard rockers Amen have been quiet in the UK but have signed a major deal in the States and the shambolic Alfie are still dawdling along albeit somewhat aimlessly.’
      amble, stroll, go slowly, walk slowly, loiter, loiter along, move at a snail's pace, not keep pace, hold back, lag behind, fall behind, trail behind
      View synonyms

Origin

Mid 17th century: related to dialect daddle, doddle ‘dally’.

Pronunciation

dawdle

/ˈdɔːd(ə)l/