See more synonyms for dawdle on Thesaurus.com
verb (used without object), daw·dled, daw·dling.
  1. to waste time; idle; trifle; loiter: Stop dawdling and help me with these packages!
  2. to move slowly, languidly, or dilatorily; saunter.
verb (used with object), daw·dled, daw·dling.
  1. 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

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1, 2. See loiter. 3. fritter, putter, idle, trifle.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for dawdler

Contemporary Examples of dawdler

Historical Examples of dawdler

  • I am but a dawdler, a do-nothing, the butt and laughing-stock of all brave men.

    Helmet of Navarre

    Bertha Runkle

  • He had been called a dawdler and a trifler and a do-nothing.

    Under Handicap

    Jackson Gregory

  • And a weakling, a dawdler like himself, must reply to a hero like that!

    The Torrent

    Vicente Blasco Ibaez

British Dictionary definitions for dawdler


  1. (intr) to be slow or lag behind
  2. (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 dawdler



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