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verb daw·dle \ˈdȯ-dəl\

Simple Definition of dawdle

  • : to move or act too slowly

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of dawdle

dawdleddawdling play \ˈdȯ-dliŋ, -dəl-iŋ\

  1. intransitive verb
  2. 1 :  to spend time idly

  3. 2 :  to move lackadaisically

  4. transitive verb
  5. :  to spend fruitlessly or lackadaisically <dawdled the day away>

dawdler play \ˈdȯ-dlər, -dəl-ər\ noun

Examples of dawdle in a sentence

  1. Hurry up! There's no time to dawdle.

  2. Come home immediately after school, and don't dawdle.

Origin of dawdle

origin unknown

First Known Use: circa 1656

Synonym Discussion of dawdle

delay, retard, slow, slacken, detain mean to cause to be late or behind in movement or progress. delay implies a holding back, usually by interference, from completion or arrival <bad weather delayed our arrival>. retard suggests reduction of speed without actual stopping <language barriers retarded their progress>. slow and slacken also imply a reduction of speed, slow often suggesting deliberate intention <medication slowed the patient's heart rate>, slacken an easing up or relaxing of power or effort <on hot days runners slacken their pace>. detain implies a holding back beyond a reasonable or appointed time <unexpected business had detained her>.

delay, procrastinate, lag, loiter, dawdle, dally mean to move or act slowly so as to fall behind. delay usually implies a putting off (as a beginning or departure) <we cannot delay any longer>. procrastinate implies blameworthy delay especially through laziness or apathy <procrastinates about making decisions>. lag implies failure to maintain a speed set by others <lagging behind in technology>. loiter and dawdle imply delay while in progress, especially in walking, but dawdle more clearly suggests an aimless wasting of time <loitered at several store windows> <children dawdling on their way home from school>. dally suggests delay through trifling or vacillation when promptness is necessary <stop dallying and get to work>.

Rhymes with dawdle

DAWDLE Defined for Kids


verb daw·dle \ˈdȯ-dəl\

Definition of dawdle for Students


  1. 1 :  to spend time wastefully :  dally <He couldn't afford to dawdle. He was way behind the others … — Louis Sachar, Holes>

  2. 2 :  to move slowly and without purpose <Don't dawdle in the hall.>

Seen and Heard

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a smart aleck

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