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[dih-ley] /dɪˈleɪ/
verb (used with object)
to put off to a later time; defer; postpone:
The pilot delayed the flight until the weather cleared.
to impede the process or progress of; retard; hinder:
The dense fog delayed the plane's landing.
verb (used without object)
to put off action; linger; loiter:
He delayed until it was too late.
the act of delaying; procrastination; loitering.
an instance of being delayed:
There were many delays during the train trip.
the period or amount of time during which something is delayed:
The ballet performance began after a half-hour delay.
Origin of delay
1225-75; Middle English delaien (v.), delai(e) (noun) < Old French delaier (v.), delai (noun)
Related forms
delayable, adjective
delayer, noun
delayingly, adverb
predelay, noun, verb
undelayable, adjective
undelaying, adjective
undelayingly, adverb
1. See defer1 . 2. slow, detain. 3. procrastinate, tarry. 4. tarrying, dawdling. 5. deferment, postponement, respite. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for delaying
  • By delaying conception by a few years, it's hoped that mares will be in better shape to produce healthier foals.
  • delaying marriage reduces fertility rates, creating an equally powerful check on populations.
  • But he antagonized the city by delaying tax payments, causing city workers to go unpaid for months.
  • Weather is a significant factor for delaying shuttle launches.
  • The company is also experimenting with delaying readings from the scale.
  • Our engineered enzymes get around this problem by delaying their activation, which allows the plants to grow normally.
  • One group with similar charge will cause droplet to repel thus delaying formation of bigger drop.
  • Their combined investment resolved a chicken-and-egg dilemma that has been delaying the large-scale implementation of smart grids.
  • And because these are economists, they are quick to tell their students about the opportunity costs of delaying a degree.
  • Teach students the importance of delaying gratification.
British Dictionary definitions for delaying


(transitive) to put off to a later time; defer
(transitive) to slow up, hinder, or cause to be late; detain
(intransitive) to be irresolute or put off doing something; procrastinate
(intransitive) to linger; dawdle
the act or an instance of delaying or being delayed
the interval between one event and another; lull; interlude
Derived Forms
delayer, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old French delaier, from des- off + laier, variant of laissier to leave, from Latin laxāre to loosen, from laxus slack, lax
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 delaying



c.1300, from Old French delaiier, from de- "away, from" (see de-) + laier "leave, let," probably a variant of Old French laissier, from Latin laxare "slacken, undo" (see lax). Related: Delayed; delaying.


mid-13c., from Old French delaie, from delaiier (see delay (v.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for delaying


Related Terms

gapers' block

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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