dawdle

verb
daw·dle | \ˈdȯ-dᵊl \
dawdled; dawdling\ˈdȯ-dliŋ, -dᵊl-iŋ \

Definition of dawdle 

intransitive verb

1 : to spend time idly dawdled about in the vestibule …— Jane Austen

2 : to move lackadaisically "I don't want you dawdling while you making deliveries for Mrs. Ford."— Connie Porter

transitive verb

: to spend fruitlessly or lackadaisically dawdled the day away

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from dawdle

dawdler \ˈdȯ-dlər, -dᵊl-ər \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for dawdle

delay, procrastinate, lag, loiter, dawdle, dally mean to move or act slowly so as to fall behind. delay usually implies a putting off of something (such 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

Examples of dawdle in a Sentence

Hurry up! There's no time to dawdle. Come home immediately after school, and don't dawdle.

Recent Examples on the Web

Analysts warn that Unibail shouldn’t dawdle in its sales strategy. Isobel Lee, WSJ, "Unibail Selling Properties After Big Westfield Deal," 2 July 2018 After initially dawdling, the company pushed out its chief executive and fired or disciplined hundreds of managers. Jack Ewing, New York Times, "Diesel Scandal Deepens as German Authorities Target Audi Chief and Daimler," 11 June 2018 Then, when bad weather forced them to dawdle in Calais for two weeks while their Channel crossing was delayed, Anne and Henry took a Fornication Vacation and finally consummated their love. Anne Thériault, Longreads, "Queens of Infamy: Anne Boleyn," 25 May 2018 Still, this is no time to dawdle; here are some tips for you last-minute filers: How to file The IRS says that electronic filing is the best way to avoid common mistakes. NBC News, "Procrastinators rejoice: There's still time to file taxes," 15 Apr. 2018 City right back Kyle Walker dawdled on the ball as the rebound fell at his feet, allowing Firmino to prod the ball into Salah's path and Liverpool's player of the season hammered the ball into the net. Matias Grez, CNN, "Liverpool stun Manchester City to take commanding lead in Champions League tie," 4 Apr. 2018 Such a slow and uncertain response, following equally dawdling attempts to address the 2008 economic slump, has raised questions about the E.U.’s ability to cope with crisis, and even, its critics say, to function at all. Alex Perry, Newsweek, "Migrants and the New Mediterranean Mafia," 10 June 2015 Netanyahu dawdled until the last possible moment—Friday afternoon, less than an hour before the Sabbath. Gregg Carlstrom, Newsweek, "The Fall of Benjamin Netanyahu and the Future of Israel," 15 Mar. 2018 But Congress has dawdled on crossing the finish line. Kristin Rowe-finkbeiner, Time, "Why America Needs a Paid Family Leave Act for All," 26 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dawdle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of dawdle

circa 1656, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for dawdle

origin unknown

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about dawdle

Statistics for dawdle

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for dawdle

The first known use of dawdle was circa 1656

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for dawdle

dawdle

verb

English Language Learners Definition of dawdle

: to move or act too slowly

dawdle

verb
daw·dle | \ˈdȯ-dᵊl \
dawdled; dawdling

Kids Definition of dawdle

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

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on dawdle

What made you want to look up dawdle? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to reject or criticize sharply

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!