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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 dawdling
Historical Examples
  • The man who has a habit of dawdling or listlessness will show it in everything he does.

    How to Succeed Orison Swett Marden
  • The six were dawdling away our time one fine Sunday in Lynhurst Park.

    Aladdin & Co. Herbert Quick
  • They had been dawdling over the dishes, and their eyes had frequently met.

    Sister Carrie Theodore Dreiser
  • Either you must conquer your habit of dawdling,” he said, “or it will conquer you.

    Parkhurst Boys Talbot Baines Reed
  • How soon I again fell a victim to dawdling the sequel will show.

    Parkhurst Boys Talbot Baines Reed
  • We have been dawdling about in this wretched country long enough.

  • This is the method of Vacuity or dawdling formerly mentioned.

    Assimilative Memory Marcus Dwight Larrowe (AKA Prof. A. Loisette)
  • After this dawdling in the morning, they made up their minds to work in the afternoon.

    The Curate in Charge Margaret Oliphant
  • We are in half a mind to leave this dawdling Haj, and go on with him to-morrow.

  • There was luncheon; some dawdling and scolding about the weather.

    A Little Girl in Old San Francisco

    Amanda Minnie Douglas
British Dictionary definitions for dawdling


(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 dawdling



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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