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’
    • ‘They cannot dilly-dally with the issue as the deadline has been set.’
    • ‘Girls, time for class, stop dilly-dallying.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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're leaving early tomorrow, and I'm not going to be dilly-dallying.’
    • ‘Don't four-year-olds often dilly-dally, stall, and do just about everything slowly?’
    • ‘While they're dilly-dallying, my house is falling apart.’
    • ‘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!’
    • ‘In fact, had they not dilly-dallied, the book would have been out much sooner.’
    • ‘We were thankful for the time bought for us to dilly-dally.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘While the Minister for Health dilly-dallies, patients lives are at risk and staff are continuing to work in completely unacceptable and intolerable conditions.’
    • ‘How should we deal with judges who sleep on the bench, dilly-dally over judgments or commit crimes?’
    • ‘It's never too early to start loitering, and dilly-dallying.’
    • ‘I'm not going to be dilly-dallying around and dancing around the issues.’
    • ‘Well, I hope he doesn't dilly-dally too much longer.’
    • ‘His attitude has been to dilly-dally and turn down proposals on firms on trivial grounds.’
    • ‘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!’
    • ‘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.’
    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
    View synonyms

Origin

Early 17th century: reduplication of dally.

Pronunciation

dilly-dally

/ˈdɪliˌdæli//ˈdilēˌdalē/