pro·​cras·​ti·​nate | \ prə-ˈkra-stə-ˌnāt How to pronounce procrastinate (audio) , 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 How to pronounce procrastination (audio) , prō-​ \ noun
procrastinator \ prə-​ˈkra-​stə-​ˌnā-​tər How to pronounce procrastinator (audio) , 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 So, while sure, the forecast doesn’t necessarily call for a string bikini and a cocktail, when an opportunity like this one comes along, procrastinating isn’t an option. Eliza Huber,, "Breaking: Target Just Launched 1,800 New Swimsuit Styles," 20 Jan. 2020 Still procrastinating taking down those Christmas decorations? Diego Mendoza-moyers,, "Done with your Christmas tree? The city will take it off your hands.," 28 Dec. 2019 When sensing an urge to procrastinate on a hard project at work, take a first step as soon as possible. Jelena Kecmanovic, Houston Chronicle, "How to combat constant worry and anxiety," 24 Dec. 2019 Perfectionism plays a role in procrastinating, too. Gail Rosenblum,, "Time-management guru turns procrastinators into goal-setters," 20 Sep. 2019 The good news for procrastinating shoppers is that prices are getting slashed as Halloween approaches. Denise Coffey,, "Halloween Spirit Means Big Bucks," 29 Oct. 2019 And while January may seem a long way off, that’s no reason to procrastinate. John Meyer, The Know, "Winter Park Express ski train expanding service to include all Fridays," 23 Oct. 2019 Financial planners say getting people to stop procrastinating on this important money chore can be tough. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Liz Weston: How to quit stalling and write your will," 30 Sep. 2019 Don't put it off Skalman says the biggest mistake people make in the process is procrastinating. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "The Right Window Treatment for Every Room," 30 Sep. 2019

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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Time Traveler for procrastinate

Time Traveler

The first known use of procrastinate was in 1588

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Last Updated

27 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Procrastinate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for procrastinate


How to pronounce procrastinate (audio)

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 How to pronounce procrastinate (audio) \
procrastinated; procrastinating

Kids Definition of procrastinate

: to keep putting off something that should be done

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