daw·​dle | \ ˈdȯ-dᵊl How to pronounce dawdle (audio) \
dawdled; dawdling\ ˈdȯ-​dliŋ How to pronounce dawdling (audio) , -​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 How to pronounce dawdler (audio) , -​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 Congress, for example, dawdled for seven months because of an acrimonious fight over funding for Zika in 2016. Nicholas Florko, STAT, "Leave a Comment," 2 Mar. 2020 If the last launch was any indication, it's bound to be gone in no time, so don't dawdle. Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "Tati Beauty Just Restocked Its Sold-Out Textured Neutrals Vol. 1 Palette," 15 Jan. 2020 Instead, in the last year, the Trump administration withdrew two drug pricing proposals, dawdled on a third, and lost in court on a fourth. Nicholas Florko, STAT, "2019 was supposed to be the year Washington lowered drug prices. What happened?," 20 Dec. 2019 In 2015 this was extended to three years, but the authorities in Shijiazhuang still dawdled. The Economist, "Keeping caps out of hands China once stressed the importance of setting minimum wages," 18 Dec. 2019 The referees blew the play dead and stood nearby, dawdling like a pair of plainclothes detectives at a crime scene. Nick Paumgarten, The New Yorker, "My Year of Concussions," 4 Nov. 2019 However, that hope was soon extinguished thanks a defensive howler from Nicolas Otamendi, who dawdled on the ball to allow Emiliano Buendia to dispossess him and set up goal machine Teemu Pukki. Matias Grez, CNN, "Norwich stuns defending Premier League champion Manchester City," 14 Sep. 2019 The tour’s pace-of-play rule focuses on golfers whose groups have fallen out of position, not on individuals who dawdle. Karen Crouse, New York Times, "Golf’s New Breed Tries to Speed Things Up," 15 Aug. 2019 Richard Linklater's 19th feature becomes compelling in its final act, but before that too often appears tonally addled and dramatically dawdling. Todd Mccarthy, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Where'd You Go, Bernadette': Film Review," 15 Aug. 2019

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

Time Traveler for dawdle

Time Traveler

The first known use of dawdle was circa 1656

See more words from the same year

Statistics for dawdle

Cite this Entry

“Dawdle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dawdle. Accessed 4 Aug. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for dawdle


How to pronounce dawdle (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of dawdle

: to move or act too slowly


daw·​dle | \ ˈdȯ-dᵊl How to pronounce dawdle (audio) \
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

More from Merriam-Webster on dawdle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dawdle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dawdle

Spanish Central: Translation of dawdle

Nglish: Translation of dawdle for Spanish Speakers

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

July 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • papercraft sunset
  • Which is a synonym of mien?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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