Synonyms & Antonyms of delay

(Entry 1 of 2)

an instance or period of being prevented from going about one's business
  • there was a delay for our boarding while the airplane unloaded incoming passengers

Synonyms for delay

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Synonyms & Antonyms of delay (Entry 2 of 2)

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Frequently Asked Questions About delay

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

Some common synonyms of delay are dally, dawdle, lag, loiter, and procrastinate. While all these words 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

Where would dally be a reasonable alternative to delay?

The words dally and delay 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 can lag be used instead of delay?

In some situations, the words lag and delay are roughly equivalent. However, lag implies failure to maintain a speed set by others.

lagging behind in technology

How do loiter and dawdle relate to one another, in the sense of delay?

Both 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

When is procrastinate a more appropriate choice than delay?

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

procrastinates about making decisions

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Time Traveler for delay

Time Traveler

The first known use of delay was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Delay.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Dec. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on delay

Nglish: Translation of delay for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of delay for Arabic Speakers


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