pro·​cras·​ti·​nate | \prə-ˈkra-stə-ˌnāt, prō-\
procrastinated; procrastinating

Definition of procrastinate 

transitive verb

: to put off intentionally and habitually

intransitive verb

: to put off intentionally the doing of something that should be done

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Other Words from procrastinate

procrastination \prə-​ˌkra-​stə-​ˈnā-​shən, prō-​ \ noun
procrastinator \prə-​ˈkra-​stə-​ˌnā-​tər, prō-​ \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for procrastinate

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

Did You Know?

We won't put off telling you about out the origins of "procrastinate." English speakers borrowed the word in the 16th century from Latin procrastinatus, which itself evolved from the prefix pro-, meaning "forward," and crastinus, meaning "of tomorrow." Like its synonyms "delay," "lag," "loiter," "dawdle," and "dally," "procrastinate" means to move or act slowly so as to fall behind. It typically implies blameworthy delay especially through laziness or apathy.

Examples of procrastinate in a Sentence

He procrastinated and missed the submission deadline. He told her to stop procrastinating and get to work.

Recent Examples on the Web

But, of course, voters tend to procrastinate until the last minute, meaning elections offices usually get a huge pile of new ballots dumped on them on election night (and in some states, afterward) that suddenly have to be verified. Andrew Prokop, Vox, "It could take days — or weeks — to find out which party won Congress," 6 Nov. 2018 This means that most people are either planning (or procrastinating) their costumes, candy corn is suddenly a staple in the snack cabinet, and for the beauty obsessed, Halloween hair and makeup tutorials are on non-stop in the background. Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "Hot Topic Just Launched a Beetlejuice Eye Shadow Palette, and It Already Sold Out," 2 Oct. 2018 The mobility and visibility of the RV challenged people’s instincts to procrastinate. Rebecca Hazen, Houston Chronicle, "Destination: Healthy Skin mobile RV comes to Houston," 26 June 2018 Nowadays, Danny stays busy being a dad, practicing putts on his miniature green to reduce his 9 handicap and procrastinating about the air conditioner the classic car buff wants to put in the 1968 Camaro sitting in his garage. David Haugh,, "Operating on Danny Farquhar's brain didn't change what was in White Sox pitcher's heart," 12 July 2018 Travel Fans following the games are more likely to be glued to the TV and may procrastinate planning their summer travel, according to SunTrust analyst Naved Khan. Bloomberg, Fortune, "How to Bet on World Cup 2018—In the Stock Market," 14 June 2018 Buzz60 Americans pay a price for procrastinating on financial matters, but many delay anyway. Russ Wiles, USA TODAY, "Financial procrastination: 4 things to avoid and how to do it," 8 Apr. 2018 Bass is admittedly running, unraveling and procrastinating in this attempt to process or cure his pain and perhaps redefine his identity. Ashley Day, USA TODAY, "Famous writers get together over dinner in Rick Bass' tasty 'Traveling Feast'," 12 June 2018 Remarkably, the space comes with a small dining table, a desk, and sofa, which means there are ample spots for procrastinating on that econ paper. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Tiny house-inspired student housing puts your dorm room to shame," 6 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'procrastinate.' 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 procrastinate

1588, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for procrastinate

Latin procrastinatus, past participle of procrastinare, from pro- forward + crastinus of tomorrow, from cras tomorrow

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Statistics for procrastinate

Last Updated

1 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for procrastinate

The first known use of procrastinate was in 1588

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More Definitions for procrastinate



English Language Learners Definition of procrastinate

: to be slow or late about doing something that should be done : to delay doing something until a later time because you do not want to do it, because you are lazy, etc.


pro·​cras·​ti·​nate | \prə-ˈkra-stə-ˌnāt \
procrastinated; procrastinating

Kids Definition of procrastinate

: to keep putting off something that should be done

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More from Merriam-Webster on procrastinate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with procrastinate

Spanish Central: Translation of procrastinate

Nglish: Translation of procrastinate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of procrastinate for Arabic Speakers

Comments on procrastinate

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


to make faulty or ineffective

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