procrastinate

verb

pro·​cras·​ti·​nate prə-ˈkra-stə-ˌnāt How to pronounce procrastinate (audio)
prō-
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 High-achieving professionals may cope by procrastinating or engaging in negative self-talk. Orianna Rosa Royle, Fortune, 21 June 2024 Burhan, who benefited from a shorter transition, wavered over whether to procrastinate or to push for a final decision. Alex De Waal, Foreign Affairs, 27 Apr. 2023 Many of the shows are sold out or selling fast, so don’t procrastinate. David L. Coddon, San Diego Union-Tribune, 2 May 2024 Describe your ideal way to procrastinate from writing. New York Times, 18 Apr. 2024 See all Example Sentences for procrastinate 

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

Etymology

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

Podcast

Dictionary Entries Near procrastinate

Cite this Entry

“Procrastinate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/procrastinate. Accessed 17 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

procrastinate

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