- to show indecision or hesitation; be irresolute; vacillate.
- to waste time; dawdle.
- irresolution; indecision; vacillation: It was sheer shilly-shally on his part.
- irresolute; undecided; vacillating.
Origin of shilly-shally
1690–1700; orig. repeated question, shall I? shall I? later altered on the model of its synonym dilly-dally
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Related Words for shillyshallyhesitate, dawdle, waffle, seesaw, waver, fluctuate, dither, oscillate, differ, divide, modify, diverge, range, diversify, alter, distrust, suspect, impugn, rotate, vary
Examples from the Web for shillyshally
Historical Examples of shillyshally
- (intr) to be indecisive, esp over unimportant matters; hesitate
- in an indecisive manner
- indecisive or hesitant
- indecision or hesitation; vacillation
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
Word Origin and History for shillyshally
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper