Synonyms & Antonyms of dawdle

2 to spend time doing nothing
  • accused the city council of dawdling even as the crime rate was spiraling out of control

Synonyms for dawdle

Words Related to dawdle

Phrases Synonymous with dawdle

Near Antonyms for dawdle

See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About dawdle

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about dawdle

Time Traveler for dawdle

Time Traveler

The first known use of dawdle was circa 1656

See more words from the same year

Cite this Entry

“Dawdle.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Aug. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on dawdle

Dictionary: Definition of dawdle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dawdle

Spanish Central: Translation of dawdle

Nglish: Translation of dawdle for Spanish Speakers

Comments on dawdle

What made you want to look up dawdle? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

July 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • papercraft sunset
  • Which is a synonym of mien?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!