A delay is a wait or a postponement. An unexpected delay before the start of a play might make the audience restless and noisy.
During a delay, you have to wait around for things to begin. Delay is also a verb: "That burnt pizza is going to delay dinner for at least another hour." You can also delay by loitering or hanging around: "The performer always delays when he's nervous about singing in front of a crowd." Delay comes from the Old French delaiier, from the roots de-, "not," and laier, "leave."