• synonyms


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.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to put off action; linger; loiter: He delayed until it was too late.
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  1. the act of delaying; procrastination; loitering.
  2. an instance of being delayed: There were many delays during the train trip.
  3. the period or amount of time during which something is delayed: The ballet performance began after a half-hour delay.
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Origin of delay

1225–75; Middle English delaien (v.), delai(e) (noun) < Old French delaier (v.), delai (noun)
Related formsde·lay·a·ble, adjectivede·lay·er, nounde·lay·ing·ly, adverbpre·de·lay, noun, verbun·de·lay·a·ble, adjectiveun·de·lay·ing, adjectiveun·de·lay·ing·ly, adverb


2. slow, detain. 3. procrastinate, tarry. 4. tarrying, dawdling. 5. deferment, postponement, respite.

Synonym study

1. See defer1.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for delayer

Historical Examples

  • He was a delayer also and, in poker patois, a passer of the buck.

    The Job

    Sinclair Lewis

  • His apparent inaction was displeasing to a large party, and he was called Cunctator (the Delayer).

  • Hence he received that new name, so salutary to the commonwealth, of Cunctator, or Delayer.

  • Fabius Cunctator, or the Delayer, so called from the policy of delay which he opposed to the vigorous movements of Hannibal.

    Witch, Warlock, and Magician

    William Henry Davenport Adams

  • He found the little devil of a delayer in the paper napkin which he had nervously wadded and dropped on the floor.

British Dictionary definitions for delayer


  1. (tr) to prune the administrative structure of (a large organization) by reducing the number of tiers in its hierarchy
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  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
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  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 Formsdelayer, noun

Word Origin

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



mid-13c., from Old French delaie, from delaiier (see delay (v.)).

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c.1300, from Old French delaiier, from de- "away, from" (see de-) + laier "leave, let," probably a variant of Old French laissier, from Latin laxare "slacken, undo" (see lax). Related: Delayed; delaying.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper