Try Our Apps


The Best Internet Slang


[dih-ley] /dɪˈleɪ/
verb (used with object)
to put off to a later time; defer; postpone:
The pilot delayed the flight until the weather cleared.
to impede the process or progress of; retard; hinder:
The dense fog delayed the plane's landing.
verb (used without object)
to put off action; linger; loiter:
He delayed until it was too late.
the act of delaying; procrastination; loitering.
an instance of being delayed:
There were many delays during the train trip.
the period or amount of time during which something is delayed:
The ballet performance began after a half-hour delay.
Origin of delay
1225-75; Middle English delaien (v.), delai(e) (noun) < Old French delaier (v.), delai (noun)
Related forms
delayable, adjective
delayer, noun
delayingly, adverb
predelay, noun, verb
undelayable, adjective
undelaying, adjective
undelayingly, adverb
2. slow, detain. 3. procrastinate, tarry. 4. tarrying, dawdling. 5. deferment, postponement, respite.
Synonym Study
1. See defer1. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for delay
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Some horrible accident might happen to delay us here thirty minutes.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • Wilson, chafing under the delay, was obliged to admit to himself that it was best.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • In the making of fancies and jests he sees a chance of delay.

    De Profundis Oscar Wilde
  • Yates did not like to ask the cause of the delay; so the three sat there silently.

  • The idea never occurred to her that there should be the slightest hindrance or the least delay.

    The Dream Emile Zola
British Dictionary definitions for delay


(transitive) to put off to a later time; defer
(transitive) to slow up, hinder, or cause to be late; detain
(intransitive) to be irresolute or put off doing something; procrastinate
(intransitive) to linger; dawdle
the act or an instance of delaying or being delayed
the interval between one event and another; lull; interlude
Derived Forms
delayer, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old French delaier, from des- off + laier, variant of laissier to leave, from Latin laxāre to loosen, from laxus slack, lax
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for delay

c.1300, from Old French delaiier, from de- "away, from" (see de-) + laier "leave, let," probably a variant of Old French laissier, from Latin laxare "slacken, undo" (see lax). Related: Delayed; delaying.


mid-13c., from Old French delaie, from delaiier (see delay (v.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for delay


Related Terms

gapers' block

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for delay

All English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for delay

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for delay