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dally

[dal-ee]
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verb (used without object), dal·lied, dal·ly·ing.
  1. to waste time; loiter; delay.
  2. to act playfully, especially in an amorous or flirtatious way.
  3. to play mockingly; trifle: to dally with danger.
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verb (used with object), dal·lied, dal·ly·ing.
  1. to waste (time) (usually followed by away).
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Origin of dally

1250–1300; Middle English dalien < Anglo-French dalier to chat, of uncertain origin
Related formsdal·li·er, noundal·ly·ing·ly, adverbun·dal·ly·ing, adjective

Synonyms for dally

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1. See loiter. 2. flirt, tease, trifle. 3. toy.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for dally

linger, putter, tarry, drag, procrastinate, trail, idle, loiter, lag, boondoggle, lollygag

Examples from the Web for dally

Historical Examples of dally

  • I may not dally on my way, turning to the right and the left for beauty and caricature.

    The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 10, No. 58, August, 1862

    Various

  • Twas no time now, thought I, all at once, to dally with the child.

  • We can delay arrival at the goal of our desires; we can dally by the wayside if we will.

  • Sire and sons returned from the cemetery invigorated for their dally labours.

    Auld Licht Idylls

    J. M. Barrie

  • To dally with the impossible were sheer madness, he knew that.

    Colorado Jim

    George Goodchild


British Dictionary definitions for dally

dally

verb -lies, -lying or -lied (intr)
  1. to waste time idly; dawdle
  2. (usually foll by with) to deal frivolously or lightly with; trifle; toyto dally with someone's affections
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Derived Formsdallier, noun

Word Origin for dally

C14: from Anglo-French dalier to gossip, 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

Word Origin and History for dally

v.

c.1300, "to talk, converse," possibly from Anglo-French dalier "to amuse oneself," of uncertain origin. Sense of "waste time" emerged by late 14c. Related: Dallied; dallying.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper