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[dawd-l] /ˈdɔd l/
verb (used without object), dawdled, dawdling.
to waste time; idle; trifle; loiter:
Stop dawdling and help me with these packages!
to move slowly, languidly, or dilatorily; saunter.
verb (used with object), dawdled, dawdling.
to waste (time) by or as if by trifling (usually followed by away):
He dawdled away the whole morning.
Origin of dawdle
First recorded in 1650-60; variant of daddle to toddle
Related forms
dawdler, noun
dawdlingly, adverb
1, 2. See loiter. 3. fritter, putter, idle, trifle. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for dawdle
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • They go from the school-room to the rum saloons, and dawdle away the rest of the day.

    Ester Ried Yet Speaking Isabella Alden
  • And they did not dawdle; the poor old woman was packed in, in the time one takes to sneeze.

    L'Assommoir Emile Zola
  • We did not dawdle over his affairs, nor did we shrink from any work to which he challenged us.

    Anabasis Xenophon
  • Easy for sleepers to dawdle with words and say carelessly life is this, life is that.

    Erik Dorn

    Ben Hecht
  • If we succeeded in getting what we had come after there would be plenty of time to dawdle.

    The Pirate of Panama William MacLeod Raine
  • Johnnie Green got to thinking so intently about the matter that he began to dawdle.

  • There was method in the way in which Laurence had sought to dawdle away the morning.

    The Sign of the Spider Bertram Mitford
  • Geddie went into his office and sat down to dawdle over his report.

  • You all know when you learn with a will, and when you dawdle.

British Dictionary definitions for dawdle


(intransitive) to be slow or lag behind
when tr, often foll by away. to waste (time); trifle
Derived Forms
dawdler, noun
dawdlingly, adverb
Word Origin
C17: of uncertain origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for dawdle

1650s, perhaps a variant of daddle "to walk unsteadily." Perhaps influenced by daw, because the bird was regarded as sluggish and silly. Not in general use until c.1775. Related: Dawdled; dawdling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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