dil·​ly·​dal·​ly | \ ˈdi-lē-ˌda-lē How to pronounce dillydally (audio) \
dillydallied; dillydallying; dillydallies

Definition of dillydally

intransitive verb

: to waste time by loitering or delaying : dawdle

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of dillydally in a Sentence

don't dillydally on the way to the store restaurant employees who, during the slow periods, would rather be doing something instead of just dillydallying
Recent Examples on the Web Bathroom breaks and other excuses for dillydallying give your heart rate a chance to return to normal. Elizabeth Narins, Cosmopolitan, "18 Ways to Maximize Your Workout and Lose Weight Faster," 22 May 2015

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

First Known Use of dillydally

1741, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for dillydally

reduplication of dally

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about dillydally

Time Traveler for dillydally

Time Traveler

The first known use of dillydally was in 1741

See more words from the same year

Statistics for dillydally

Cite this Entry

“Dillydally.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dillydally. Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for dillydally


How to pronounce dillydally (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of dillydally

informal : to move or act too slowly : to waste time


dil·​ly·​dal·​ly | \ ˈdi-lē-ˌda-lē How to pronounce dillydally (audio) \
dillydallied; dillydallying

Kids Definition of dillydally

: to waste time : dawdle Don't dillydally in your work.

More from Merriam-Webster on dillydally

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dillydally

Comments on dillydally

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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