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[dil-uh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee] /ˈdɪl əˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/
tending to delay or procrastinate; slow; tardy.
intended to cause delay, gain time, or defer decision:
a dilatory strategy.
Origin of dilatory
1250-1300; Middle English (< Anglo-French) < Latin dīlātōrius, equivalent to dīlā-, suppletive stem of differre to postpone (see differ) + -tōrius -tory1
Related forms
dilatorily, adverb
dilatoriness, noun
undilatorily, adverb
undilatory, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for dilatoriness
  • Diligence was his middle name, but few have made dilatoriness sound so attractive.
  • The affair was dallied with, and inefficiency and dilatoriness prevailed everywhere.
  • Furthermore, defendants do not have a history of dilatoriness and no prejudice has incurred to plaintiff.
  • Second, the record evidences a history of dilatoriness.
  • Hence, his dilatoriness barred his legal action under any definition of what is a reasonable time to comply with the statute.
  • Third, the record also reflects a history of dilatoriness on the part oft he plaintiff.
  • The court believes it was due to the usual dilatoriness that characterized his practice in this case.
British Dictionary definitions for dilatoriness


/ˈdɪlətərɪ; -trɪ/
tending or inclined to delay or waste time
intended or designed to waste time or defer action
Derived Forms
dilatorily, adverb
dilatoriness, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Late Latin dīlātōrius inclined to delay, from differre to postpone; see differ
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for dilatoriness



late 15c., from Late Latin dilatorius, from dilator "procrastinator," from dilatus, serving as past participle of differe "delay" (see defer).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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