pro·​cras·​ti·​nate prə-ˈkra-stə-ˌnāt How to pronounce procrastinate (audio)
procrastinated; procrastinating

transitive verb

: to put off intentionally and habitually

intransitive verb

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

Did you know?

We won't put off telling you about out the origins of procrastinate: it comes from the Latin prefix pro-, meaning "forward," and crastinus, "of tomorrow." The word means moving or acting slowly so as to fall behind, and it implies blameworthy delay especially through laziness or apathy.

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

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 In my experience, after choosing my items and placing my order, my package has been delivered in less than two days, and as someone who tends to procrastinate, Nuuly is perfect for last-minute styling. Alexandra Domrongchai, Travel + Leisure, 2 Nov. 2023 Kate Hudson is just like so many of us — procrastinating work by being on TikTok. Taylor Jean Stephan, Peoplemag, 6 Oct. 2023 Because this is causing challenges in your relationship, don’t procrastinate. Abigail Van Buren, oregonlive, 4 Sep. 2023 The newsletter comes out every Thursday afternoon during the football season, so don’t procrastinate with your prognostications. Joseph Goodman |, al, 14 Sep. 2023 One friend in the group, who likes to procrastinate, wasn’t as lucky. David Rae, Forbes, 26 Mar. 2023 Of course, people who procrastinate for years are more likely to get bad news than those who are determined to nip any problem in the bud. Abigail Van Buren, cleveland, 5 Sep. 2023 Styles will likely sell out well before this sale ends on Monday night, so don’t procrastinate scooping up these unbeatable deals. Alex Warner, Peoplemag, 25 Aug. 2023 Your biggest obstacles could be your desire for fun and any opportunities to procrastinate, as your distractions might be more distracting and time-consuming than normal. Tarot Astrologers, Chicago Tribune, 13 July 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'procrastinate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1588, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of procrastinate was in 1588


Dictionary Entries Near procrastinate

Cite this Entry

“Procrastinate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


pro·​cras·​ti·​nate p(r)ə-ˈkras-tə-ˌnāt How to pronounce procrastinate (audio)
procrastinated; procrastinating
: to keep putting off something that should be done
procrastination noun
procrastinator noun
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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