[ dil-uh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee ]
See synonyms for: dilatorydilatorilydilatoriness on Thesaurus.com

  1. tending to delay or procrastinate; slow; tardy.

  2. intended to cause delay, gain time, or defer decision: a dilatory strategy.

Origin of dilatory

1250–1300; Middle English (<Anglo-French ) <Latin dīlātōrius, equivalent to dīlā-, suppletive stem of differre to postpone (see differ) + -tōrius-tory1

Other words from dilatory

  • dil·a·to·ri·ly, adverb
  • dil·a·to·ri·ness, noun
  • un·dil·a·to·ri·ly, adverb
  • un·dil·a·to·ry, adjective

Words Nearby dilatory

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use dilatory in a sentence

  • He felt like explaining to them that he had not just arrived, and that he really was not so foolish or so dilatory as he looked.

    What Will People Say? | Rupert Hughes

British Dictionary definitions for dilatory


/ (ˈdɪlətərɪ, -trɪ) /

  1. tending or inclined to delay or waste time

  2. intended or designed to waste time or defer action

Origin of dilatory

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

Derived forms of dilatory

  • dilatorily, adverb
  • dilatoriness, 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