[ dih-ley ]
See synonyms for: delaydelayeddelayingdelays on

verb (used with object)
  1. to put off to a later time; defer; postpone: The pilot delayed the flight until the weather cleared.

  2. to impede the process or progress of; retard; hinder: The dense fog delayed the plane's landing.

verb (used without object)
  1. to put off action; linger; dally: He delayed until it was too late.

  1. the act of delaying; procrastination.

  2. an instance of being delayed: There were many delays during the train trip.

  1. the period or amount of time during which something is delayed: The ballet performance began after a half-hour delay.

Origin of delay

First recorded in 1225–75; Middle English delaien (verb), delai(e) (noun), from Old French delaier (verb), delai (noun)

synonym study For delay

1. See defer1.

Other words for delay

Other words from delay

  • de·lay·a·ble, adjective
  • de·lay·er, noun
  • de·lay·ing·ly, adverb
  • pre·de·lay, noun, verb
  • un·de·lay·a·ble, adjective
  • un·de·lay·ing, adjective
  • un·de·lay·ing·ly, adverb

Words Nearby delay Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use delay in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for delay


/ (dɪˈleɪ) /

  1. (tr) to put off to a later time; defer

  2. (tr) to slow up, hinder, or cause to be late; detain

  1. (intr) to be irresolute or put off doing something; procrastinate

  2. (intr) to linger; dawdle

  1. the act or an instance of delaying or being delayed

  2. the interval between one event and another; lull; interlude

Origin of delay

C13: from Old French delaier, from des- off + laier, variant of laissier to leave, from Latin laxāre to loosen, from laxus slack, lax

Derived forms of delay

  • delayer, noun

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