9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[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 dilatory
  • In both cases, signs of distress were recognised early, but the response was dilatory.
  • Every line needed to connect to the next, with no lulls or droops in deference to dilatory historical detail.
  • Tenants say landlords are dilatory in making needed repairs.
  • Critics also charge that such prosecutions will have the dilatory effect of winnowing out many small businesses.
  • Perhaps for fear of seeming cool towards the larger goal, its governments have been dilatory in addressing these difficulties.
  • That's a record, even for the dilatory academic world.
  • It becomes harder to distinguish between conscientious job-seekers and dilatory ones.
  • Administration officials and legislators give various explanations, none terribly persuasive, for the dilatory pace.
  • The commission has since drafted a directive that penalises dilatory and double-charging banks.
  • As a result of the dilatory wedding sequence, the picture had fallen even farther behind schedule.
British Dictionary definitions for dilatory


/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
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for dilatory

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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