Definition of dilly-dally in English:

dilly-dally

verb

[NO OBJECT]informal
  • Waste time through aimless wandering or indecision.

    ‘don't dilly-dally for too long’
    • ‘This generosity for themselves comes from a congress that continues to dilly-dally over a proposal to raise the minimum wage by a pathetic dollar-an-hour - phased in over the next three years.’
    • ‘His attitude has been to dilly-dally and turn down proposals on firms on trivial grounds.’
    • ‘We're leaving early tomorrow, and I'm not going to be dilly-dallying.’
    • ‘When she emerged - and she never took long, for she wasn't one to dilly-dally - I would step into the hall so that she would see me there waiting and wouldn't be frightened.’
    • ‘Apparently she told the passengers that when they had deplaned and cleared customs, they were to make their way straight home, and not to dilly-dally anywhere, as there was a large amount of civil disturbance going on downtown!’
    • ‘Girls, time for class, stop dilly-dallying.’
    • ‘Oh, do tell me you've not wasted my father's money by spending all of your days dilly-dallying with poetry, rather than studying!’
    • ‘I'm not going to be dilly-dallying around and dancing around the issues.’
    • ‘It's never too early to start loitering, and dilly-dallying.’
    • ‘How should we deal with judges who sleep on the bench, dilly-dally over judgments or commit crimes?’
    • ‘While they're dilly-dallying, my house is falling apart.’
    • ‘In fact, had they not dilly-dallied, the book would have been out much sooner.’
    • ‘Don't four-year-olds often dilly-dally, stall, and do just about everything slowly?’
    • ‘It's just as important not to dilly-dally while you get it down, too.’
    • ‘He's seen out the season and he hasn't dilly-dallied.’
    • ‘They cannot dilly-dally with the issue as the deadline has been set.’
    • ‘Well, I hope he doesn't dilly-dally too much longer.’
    • ‘While the Minister for Health dilly-dallies, patients lives are at risk and staff are continuing to work in completely unacceptable and intolerable conditions.’
    • ‘I used to be a fundraiser, and I found that it is best not to dilly-dally too long, but to go ahead and get to ‘the ask’.’
    • ‘We were thankful for the time bought for us to dilly-dally.’
    waste time, dally, dawdle, loiter, linger, take one's time, delay, mark time, kill time, while away time, potter, trifle, temporize, stall, procrastinate, drag one's feet, play a waiting game
    dither, hesitate, falter, vacillate, waver, fluctuate
    haver, hum and haw
    swither
    shilly-shally, blow hot and cold, let the grass grow under one's feet, pussyfoot around
    tarry
    View synonyms

Origin

Early 17th century: reduplication of dally.

Pronunciation:

dilly-dally

/ˈdilēˌdalē/