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

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Other Words from dawdle

dawdler \ ˈdȯ-​dlər How to pronounce dawdle (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 Don't dawdle, especially if your travel dates and destination are set. Dawn Gilbertson, USA TODAY, "Beware pricey summer flights: Airlines pushing fares higher as travel rebounds," 22 Apr. 2021 Don’t dawdle too much, though, because these two orbs won’t have a conjunction this great again until 2080. Nicole Clausing, Sunset Magazine, "Conjunction Junction: Jupiter and Saturn Put on a Celestial Show," 20 Dec. 2020 Zeta may dawdle in the western Caribbean for another day or so, trapped between two strong high pressure systems to the east and west. NBC News, "New storm Zeta a hurricane threat to Mexico, U.S. Gulf Coast," 25 Oct. 2020 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

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.

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First Known Use of dawdle

circa 1656, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for dawdle

origin unknown

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Time Traveler for dawdle

Time Traveler

The first known use of dawdle was circa 1656

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Statistics for dawdle

Last Updated

26 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Dawdle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dawdle. Accessed 11 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for dawdle



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.

More from Merriam-Webster on dawdle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dawdle

Nglish: Translation of dawdle for Spanish Speakers

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