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Origin of shilly-shally

First recorded in 1690–1700; originally repeated question, shall I? shall I?; later altered on the model of its synonym dilly-dally

OTHER WORDS FROM shilly-shally

shil·ly-shal·li·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use shilly-shally in a sentence

  • You've got to shillyshally, and then you've got to go it blind.

    April Hopes|William Dean Howells
  • Then a lot of shillyshally usually followed, Tom for and Dick and Harry against.

    Ulysses|James Joyce

British Dictionary definitions for shilly-shally

Derived forms of shillyshally

shillyshallier, noun

Word Origin for shillyshally

C18: from shill I shall I, by reduplication of shall I
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
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