View synonyms for delay


[ dih-ley ]

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.

    Synonyms: detain, slow

verb (used without object)

  1. to put off action; linger; dally:

    He delayed until it was too late.

    Synonyms: tarry, procrastinate


  1. the act of delaying; procrastination.

    Synonyms: loitering

  2. an instance of being delayed:

    There were many delays during the train trip.

    Synonyms: respite, deferment

  3. the period or amount of time during which something is delayed:

    The ballet performance began after a half-hour delay.


/ dɪˈleɪ /


  1. tr to put off to a later time; defer
  2. tr to slow up, hinder, or cause to be late; detain
  3. intr to be irresolute or put off doing something; procrastinate
  4. 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

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Derived Forms

  • deˈlayer, noun

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Other Words From

  • 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

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Word History and Origins

Origin of delay1

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

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Word History and Origins

Origin of delay1

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

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Synonym Study

See defer 1.

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Example Sentences

There, reports of an explosion in testing wait times and delays in people getting notified of positive results have sparked rumors of another lockdown.

From Vox

After a summer of delays and postponements, the fall movie release schedule is finally starting to take shape.

Barrera said the school, though, should have allowed those eight students to continue with the class without delay.

Unusually, Apple did not debut a next generation iPhone due to the aforementioned production delays.

From Fortune

We needed to own the reality of the delays customers were experiencing.

From Digiday

The child almost died from the delay of an hour in seeking help.

Dr. Melson says abstinence only training shows no delay in sexual activity.

This is a case where delay is denial—with potentially deadly results.

There was, I am told, a two-hour delay caused by concerns about the temperature of the fuel.

But delay hurts, deprivation is unfair, and waiting (and waiting) matters.

I hate to be long at my toilette at any time; but to delay much in such a matter while travelling is folly.

So, small as his force was, only one hundred and eighty, he determined to move out and attack Porter without delay.

Any delay in covering such deficit shall be subject to such charge as the Federal Reserve Board may impose.

I have left a dozen men behind me, who'll hunt me over the country, if I don't rejoin them without delay.

Very likely the next great war will have begun before we realize that the three days' delay in the fall of Antwerp saved Calais.


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More About Delay

What does delay mean?

As a verb, delay means to put something off or postpone it until later, or to cause something to take longer or to be late.

As a noun, delay means an instance of something being postponed till later, or the amount of time between when something was supposed to happen and when it does happen (the lull or interlude).

Example: The convention has not been canceled—it has been delayed until we can find a proper venue.

Where does delay come from?

Delay has been used in English since before 1300. It comes from the Old French delaier, which is formed from de-, meaning “off,” and laier, a variant of laissier, meaning “to leave.” This is derived from the Latin laxare, “to loosen,” from laxus, “slack, lax.”

We may hate waiting, but delays are part of our daily life. If there’s a shipping delay, it means the thing we ordered is going to arrive later than expected. If there’s a traffic jam, we’re told to expect major delays, meaning it’s going to take a lot longer than usual to get where we’re going. Rain delays happen when it rains at outdoor sporting events, but that doesn’t always mean that the game gets canceled—it usually just gets delayed until the rain stops. When there’s a snowstorm, schools might open later, after a two-hour delay. These examples all use delay as a noun, but delay as a verb is just as common.

If we delay a meeting, we postpone it until later. If our flight has been delayed, it means the plane is taking longer than scheduled to arrive—probably because it left later than expected or it ran into bad weather. Another meaning of delay as a verb is “to wait” or “to procrastinate.” This sense is seen in advertisements that tell us don’t delay—order now while supplies last!

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What are some other forms related to delay?

  • delayable (adjective)
  • delayingly (adverb)
  • delayer (noun)
  • predelay (noun, verb)

What are some synonyms for delay?

What are some words that share a root or word element with delay

What are some words that often get used in discussing delay?


How is delay used in real life?

Delay is used in all kinds of situations in which things have been postponed or are running behind schedule.



Try using delay!

Which of the following words is NOT a synonym of delay?

A. lag
B. lax
C. lull
D. linger




De La Warrdelayed