Synonym Chooser

How is the word dawdle different from other verbs like it?

Some common synonyms of dawdle are dally, delay, lag, loiter, and procrastinate. While all these words mean "to move or act slowly so as to fall behind," 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

Where would dally be a reasonable alternative to dawdle?

The words dally and dawdle can be used in similar contexts, but dally suggests delay through trifling or vacillation when promptness is necessary.

stop dallying and get to work

When might delay be a better fit than dawdle?

The meanings of delay and dawdle largely overlap; however, delay usually implies a putting off of something (such as a beginning or departure).

we cannot delay any longer

In what contexts can lag take the place of dawdle?

While in some cases nearly identical to dawdle, lag implies failure to maintain a speed set by others.

lagging behind in technology

When is procrastinate a more appropriate choice than dawdle?

The synonyms procrastinate and dawdle are sometimes interchangeable, but procrastinate implies blameworthy delay especially through laziness or apathy.

procrastinates about making decisions

Thesaurus Entries Near dawdle

Cite this Entry

“Dawdle.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/dawdle. Accessed 1 Oct. 2023.

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