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 procrastinate (audio) , prō-​ \ noun
procrastinator \ prə-​ˈkra-​stə-​ˌnā-​tər How to pronounce procrastinate (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 In fact, no one even needs to know about your tendency to procrastinate, since there are myriad gifts available that require only one or two days to ship or can be delivered instantly via email. Cnn Underscored Staff, CNN Underscored, "Shop last-minute gifts that will arrive in time for Christmas," 22 Dec. 2020 For anyone with a tendency to procrastinate, the final days before Christmas are often a mad dash to finish up holiday shopping. Jessica Bennett, Better Homes & Gardens, "Print a Custom Photo Calendar at Walgreens for a Speedy Last-Minute Gift," 22 Dec. 2020 The surge online is also prompting some retailers to provide a bit of warning to encourage shoppers not to procrastinate. al, "Safer online: Alabama adapts to a different Black Friday," 25 Nov. 2020 Research shows that more than 70% of college students procrastinate, with about 20% consistently doing it all the time. Kui Xie, The Conversation, "4 tips for college students to avoid procrastinating with their online work," 19 Nov. 2020 This is not the year to procrastinate with respect to voting. Washington Post, "‘We may have a wild roller-coaster ride’ after the election, says Ohio State law professor Edward Foley," 27 Oct. 2020 Those in Kentucky who plan to cast an absentee ballot and like to procrastinate until the last minute, meanwhile, have a few more days to sign up. Lucas Aulbach, The Courier-Journal, "Monday is the deadline to register to vote, and Kentucky officials want you to sign up," 4 Oct. 2020 With debt surging and the coronavirus pandemic threatening the deepest economic contraction in almost 90 years, business leaders are warning that President Cyril Ramaphosa’s government can no longer procrastinate. Daniel Tenreiro, National Review, "The Capital Note: Currency Clash," 12 Aug. 2020 In a press conference, LaRose encouraged voters to not procrastinate on their requests for an absentee ballot. Caitlin Conant, CBS News, "Trump slams Kamala Harris over her presidential primary performance," 12 Aug. 2020

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

9 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Procrastinate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jan. 2021.

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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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