verb (used without object), daw·dled, daw·dling.

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), daw·dled, daw·dling.

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 formsdaw·dler, noundaw·dling·ly, adverb

Synonyms for dawdle

1, 2. See loiter. 3. fritter, putter, idle, trifle.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for dawdled

Historical Examples of dawdled

  • In all that did not directly concern her he had dawdled, and Dorothy knew and resented it.

    Peak and Prairie

    Anna Fuller

  • For all that, he dawdled not a moment longer than he could help.

    Follow My leader

    Talbot Baines Reed

  • But of all my infant duties the one I dawdled over most was going to sleep.

    Parkhurst Boys

    Talbot Baines Reed

  • It was late in the afternoon before Patty dawdled downstairs.

    Patty's Success

    Carolyn Wells

  • We have dawdled to the end of the dawdling period, and come to the active one.

British Dictionary definitions for dawdled



(intr) to be slow or lag behind
(when tr, often foll by away) to waste (time); trifle
Derived Formsdawdler, noundawdlingly, adverb

Word Origin for dawdle

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

Word Origin and History for dawdled



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