dallying; dallied; dallies

Dally means “to waste time.” When you dally, you will cause a delay because of your dawdling.

You have probably heard the expression "to dilly-dally" — which means “to dawdle.” Well, if you take the dilly out of dilly-dally to get just dally — you still have pretty much the same meaning. Dally has other common definitions, such as “to flirt” (especially without care of the result) or “to play.” The light tone is probably an echo of its origin, which is likely the French word dalier, meaning “to amuse oneself.”

Definitions of dally
  1. verb
    behave carelessly or indifferently
    synonyms: flirt, play, toy
    play, trifle
    consider not very seriously
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    type of:
    act, move
    perform an action, or work out or perform (an action)
  2. verb
    consider not very seriously
    synonyms: play, trifle
    flirt, play, toy
    behave carelessly or indifferently
    see moresee less
    type of:
    consider, deal, look at, take
    take into consideration for exemplifying purposes
  3. verb
    waste time
    “Get busy--don't dally!”
    synonyms: dawdle
    see moresee less
    type of:
    act, behave, do
    behave in a certain manner; show a certain behavior; conduct or comport oneself
  4. verb
    talk or behave amorously, without serious intentions
    synonyms: butterfly, chat up, coquet, coquette, flirt, mash, philander, romance
    see moresee less
    engage in amorous play
    act seductively with (someone)
    type of:
    speak, talk
    exchange thoughts; talk with
DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘dally'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
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