• synonyms


[dil-uh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee]
See more synonyms for dilatory on Thesaurus.com
  1. tending to delay or procrastinate; slow; tardy.
  2. intended to cause delay, gain time, or defer decision: a dilatory strategy.
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Origin of dilatory

1250–1300; Middle English (< Anglo-French) < Latin dīlātōrius, equivalent to dīlā-, suppletive stem of differre to postpone (see differ) + -tōrius -tory1
Related formsdil·a·to·ri·ly, adverbdil·a·to·ri·ness, nounun·dil·a·to·ri·ly, adverbun·dil·a·to·ry, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for dilatoriness

Historical Examples

  • No play—no dilatoriness—finished to the minute that it's looked for!

    The Channings

    Mrs. Henry Wood

  • He had, however, the one fault common to all his tribe, that of dilatoriness.

  • The dilatoriness of the London publishers has just been mentioned.

  • He owed, however, his safety to nothing but Saavedras indecision and dilatoriness.

    Letters from Spain

    Joseph Blanco White

  • She hoped, with fluttering courtesy, that we would forgive her dilatoriness.

British Dictionary definitions for dilatoriness


  1. tending or inclined to delay or waste time
  2. intended or designed to waste time or defer action
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Derived Formsdilatorily, adverbdilatoriness, noun

Word Origin

C15: from Late Latin dīlātōrius inclined to delay, from differre to postpone; see differ
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 dilatoriness



late 15c., from Late Latin dilatorius, from dilator "procrastinator," from dilatus, serving as past participle of differe "delay" (see defer).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper