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lallygag

[ lah-lee-gag, lal-ee- ]
/ 藞l蓱 li藢g忙g, 藞l忙l i- /
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verb (used without object), lal路ly路gagged, lal路ly路gag路ging.Informal.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, 漏 Random House, Inc. 2021

VOCAB BUILDER

What does聽lallygag mean?

To lallygag is to dilly-dally, dawdle, loaf around, or goof off. If you鈥檙e lallygagging, you鈥檙e wasting time by moving slowly or doing something less important than what you should be (or doing nothing at all).

Lallygag is synonymous with the very similar spelled lollygag, which is much more commonly used. Both are very informal and are primarily used in the United States.

Example: Coach yelled at Spencer for lallygagging at practice.

Where does聽lallygag come from?

The first recorded uses of lollygag and lallygag come from around the 1860s. They are considered Americanisms鈥攎eaning they likely originated in and are most used in the United States. But their etymological origin is unknown. The word loll, meaning to 鈥渞ecline or lean in a relaxed or lazy manner鈥 (as in loll on the couch) has been in use since the 1300s, but there is no evidence connecting it to lollygag or lallygag. Nor is there any evidence that the second part is based on the sense of the word gag referring to a joke or trick. So we鈥檒l stop lallygagging and start talking about how it鈥檚 used.

A somewhat formal definition of lallygag is 鈥渢o waste time idly.鈥 But lallygag is a very informal word applied to the kind of very informal activities best known as goofing off or messing around or dilly-dallying. If you鈥檙e supposed to be doing your homework but you鈥檙e messing around with your friends by doing nothing in particular, you鈥檙e lallygagging. Sometimes, lallygag means 鈥渢o loiter鈥 or 鈥渢o do just about nothing at all.鈥 It鈥檚 also commonly used to mean 鈥渢o move slowly or drag behind,鈥 as in Quit lallygagging back there and catch up with the rest of the group!

Lallygag (and to a lesser extent lollygag) was formerly used as a slang term meaning 鈥渢o kiss or engage in sexual activity,鈥 but it is not really used this way anymore (although some of its synonyms are, such as mess around).

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to lallygag?

  • lallygagging (continuous tense verb, noun)
  • lallygagger (noun)

What are some synonyms for lallygag?

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

How is聽lallygag used in real life?

Lallygag is most commonly used by people in the U.S. talking about wasting time or taking longer than they should to do something. Lollygag is much more commonly used.

 

 

Try using聽lallygag!

Which of the following words is an antonym (opposite) of lallygag?

A. dawdle
B. idle
C. hurry
D. loiter

How to use lallygag in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for lallygag

lallygag

lollygag

/ (藞l忙l瑟藢伞忙伞) /

verb -gags, -gagging or -gagged
(intr) US to loiter aimlessly

Word Origin for lallygag

C20: of unknown origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition 漏 William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 漏 HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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