Definition of dilatory in US English:



  • 1Slow to act.

    ‘he had been dilatory in appointing a solicitor’
    • ‘That is changing, but employers can be dilatory in encouraging nurses to put in complaints because it is seen as bad publicity for the hospital.’
    • ‘It is unfair to suggest medal offices have been dilatory in distributing Canal Zone medals.’
    • ‘Here is a Labour Government that says it is interested in the environment and in the United Nations, yet it has been extremely dilatory in bringing this important bill, which is relevant to two of its key pieces of rhetoric, to the House.’
    • ‘The presence of large number of candidates makes descriptive answering method onerous and dilatory.’
    • ‘Once wide awake, even enterprising, they slowly become dilatory, leaden, slow, laggard, and lumpish.’
    • ‘Physical discomfort and dilatory airline service make long-haul traveling difficult enough.’
    • ‘Equally undoubtedly, lawyers acting on behalf of the contracting companies involved will not have been so dilatory in their activities, on behalf of their own paymasters.’
    • ‘When I make a motion to enforce my decision, she complies - but it's always a dilatory effort.’
    • ‘To be fair, the response of the English public has been as magnificent as that observed here and elsewhere, but the response of the Government has, at the very least, been dilatory.’
    • ‘The usually dilatory official whose habit it is to charge extra for administration costs suddenly works studiously, and earnestly, organizing the charity effort.’
    • ‘The government was to have listed ‘protected’ sports several years ago, but their dilatory carry-on let the hour pass.’
    • ‘On the whole, I feel that it is better to be a little bit too dilatory than too hurried in responding to political proddings of this kind.’
    • ‘That they have instead been dilatory is a worrying sign of a lack of commitment to the proper safeguarding of human rights.’
    • ‘It is this dilatory or sidelong compliance I am talking about.’
    • ‘Even now, a week before the probable adjournment date, it is still uncertain whether this dilatory Congress will return for a lame-duck session after the Nov. 5 election.’
    • ‘Dismantling such structures has proved difficult, and the process of economic reform has often been tentative, dilatory, and slow.’
    • ‘None of this was dilatory or out of the ordinary.’
    • ‘It is reported in the legal profession that some builders are quite dilatory on completions, even having received the bulk of the selling price through the sale of the site and the stage payments.’
    • ‘And, while the process must be thorough, it can't be dilatory.’
    • ‘She denied that her organisation had been dilatory in any way.’
    slow, unhurried, tardy, unpunctual, lax, slack, sluggish, sluggardly, snail-like, tortoise-like, lazy, idle, indolent, slothful
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    1. 1.1 Intended to cause delay.
      ‘they resorted to dilatory procedural tactics, forcing a postponement of peace talks’
      • ‘Not surprisingly, for connoisseurs of media history, the prime optic of this dilatory policy exercise has been censorship.’
      • ‘Disappointed with the dilatory tactics of the cocoa firms, he even suggested sending a man-of-war to arrest a slave ship.’
      • ‘But in Nicholas's Russia the dilatory procedures alone made recourse to law ruinous for anyone who had no strings to pull.’
      • ‘It had started dilatory and divisive tactics on the finality of accession.’
      • ‘Nor can we rely on escalatory steps such as economic sanctions to pressure it as it employs dilatory and diversionary tactics to complete its final solution.’
      • ‘Previously, dilatory tactics were out of order only after cloture had been invoked.’
      • ‘He said the decision was made in view of what they called dilatory tactics being employed by the lawyers.’
      • ‘Here, a mother's allergy to snakes deprives the daughter of her favourite screw pine flower (thaazhambu in Tamil), forcing her to adopt dilatory tactics in domestic behaviour.’
      • ‘This correspondence with the administration also generates delay; while complaining parties may be noninformative because of lack of experience, an administration is often dilatory out of calculation.’
      • ‘These dilatory strategies on the intellectual property front, indeed, can ruin the biodiversity richness of the country.’
      • ‘I think the dilatory approach Labour is taking towards boosting family incomes is unnecessary and uncalled for, while we still have far too many families dependent on food banks and other forms of charity for survival.’
      • ‘But, as he said, we shouldn't allow them to engage in hair-splitting and dilatory tactics.’
      delaying, stalling, temporizing, procrastinating, postponing, deferring, putting off, tabling, shelving
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Late Middle English: from late Latin dilatorius ‘delaying’, from Latin dilator ‘delayer’, from dilat- ‘deferred’, from the verb differre.