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See more synonyms for delay on Thesaurus.com
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


See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
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

Related Words

procrastinating, dilatory

Examples from the Web for delaying

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • At the tollhouse, there were further excuses for delaying the inevitable moment.

    Other Tales and Sketches

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • And so I saw the delaying of you was not so simple, so easy.

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

  • She laughed, thinking of delaying dying in her own bed as long as possible.


    Emile Zola

  • Now we are no better off, for every day is full, so we are delaying it again.

    The Dominant Strain

    Anna Chapin Ray

  • "You're only delaying us, Captain Robers," replied Winford coldly.

    The Space Rover

    Edwin K. Sloat

British Dictionary definitions for delaying


  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 delaying



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