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[dawd-l] /ˈdɔd l/
verb (used without object), dawdled, dawdling.
to waste time; idle; trifle; loiter:
Stop dawdling and help me with these packages!
to move slowly, languidly, or dilatorily; saunter.
verb (used with object), dawdled, dawdling.
to waste (time) by or as if by trifling (usually followed by away):
He dawdled away the whole morning.
Origin of dawdle
1650-60; variant of daddle to toddle
Related forms
dawdler, noun
dawdlingly, adverb
1, 2. See loiter. 3. fritter, putter, idle, trifle. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for dawdle
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • On the contrary, it takes less out of a horse to make him do his journey at a smart gait rather than to dawdle.

    Riding and Driving Edward L. Anderson
  • We did not dawdle over his affairs, nor did we shrink from any work to which he challenged us.

    Anabasis Xenophon
  • If we dawdle, the teams will be stabled—I want you to see our white oxen in the late sunlight.

    Shadows of Flames Amelie Rives
  • If we succeeded in getting what we had come after there would be plenty of time to dawdle.

    The Pirate of Panama William MacLeod Raine
  • The camels were hired by the job, twelve days, so it would not pay them to dawdle.

    Southern Arabia Theodore Bent
  • Johnnie Green got to thinking so intently about the matter that he began to dawdle.

  • When I ride with W. we generally make three or four turns as fast as we can go, he hates to dawdle.

    Letters of a Diplomat's Wife Mary King Waddington
  • Geddie went into his office and sat down to dawdle over his report.

  • And having no watch one was afraid of being late for that train, and had to dawdle so long in the muddy streets.

    Vanitas Vernon Lee
British Dictionary definitions for dawdle


(intransitive) to be slow or lag behind
when tr, often foll by away. to waste (time); trifle
Derived Forms
dawdler, noun
dawdlingly, adverb
Word Origin
C17: of uncertain origin
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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Word Origin and History for dawdle

1650s, perhaps a variant of daddle "to walk unsteadily." Perhaps influenced by daw, because the bird was regarded as sluggish and silly. Not in general use until c.1775. Related: Dawdled; dawdling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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