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

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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

But in the early voting states, the hapless citizens have already dined, danced and dawdled with the Democratic candidates at length, and their impressions have begun to change. Gerard Baker, WSJ, "Can Joe Biden Win in 2020 as the Candidate of the Old Guard?," 14 June 2019 Never one to dawdle on a headline, the Times has already announced that managing editor Dean Baquet will be her replacement. Rachel Mosely, Town & Country, "The 1% Daily," 14 May 2014 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

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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Statistics for dawdle

Last Updated

21 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for dawdle

The first known use of dawdle was circa 1656

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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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on dawdle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dawdle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dawdle

Spanish Central: Translation of dawdle

Nglish: Translation of dawdle for Spanish Speakers

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