- to waste time; loiter; delay.
- to act playfully, especially in an amorous or flirtatious way.
- to play mockingly; trifle: to dally with danger.
- to waste (time) (usually followed by away).
Origin of dally
1250–1300; Middle English dalien < Anglo-French dalier to chat, of uncertain origin
SynonymsSee more synonyms for dally on Thesaurus.com
1. See loiter. 2. flirt, tease, trifle. 3. toy.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for dally
I may not dally on my way, turning to the right and the left for beauty and caricature.
Twas no time now, thought I, all at once, to dally with the child.The Cruise of the Shining Light
We can delay arrival at the goal of our desires; we can dally by the wayside if we will.Sex=The Unknown Quantity
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
- to waste time idly; dawdle
- (usually foll by with) to deal frivolously or lightly with; trifle; toyto dally with someone's affections
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
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.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper