There are lots of words that mean to move slowly. The point of dawdle is that one is moving too slowly, is falling behind, or is not properly focused on making progress.

One way to remember the meaning of dawdle is that it rhymes with "waddle," as in, "a duck waddles." Imagine what would happen if you waddled instead of walked. It would take a lot more time, and your companion might say, "Don't dawdle!" Dawdle implies not only taking extra time but actually wasting it. A leisurely walk in the woods is one thing, but if you have to get to the theater on time, don't dawdle along the way: you'll miss the curtain!

Definitions of dawdle
  1. verb
    hang (back) or fall (behind) in movement, progress, development, etc.
    synonyms: fall back, fall behind, lag
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    drag, drop back, drop behind, get behind, hang back, trail
    to lag or linger behind
    type of:
    to travel behind, go after, come after
  2. verb
    take one's time; proceed slowly
    synonyms: linger
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    belt along, bucket along, cannonball along, hasten, hie, hotfoot, pelt along, race, rush, rush along, speed, step on it
    move fast
    type of:
    move so as to change position, perform a nontranslational motion
  3. verb
    waste time
    synonyms: dally
    see moresee less
    type of:
    act, behave, do
    behave in a certain manner; show a certain behavior; conduct or comport oneself
Word Family

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