What word or phrase does your mother always say?


[dil-ee] /ˈdɪl i/
noun, plural dillies. Informal.
something or someone regarded as remarkable, unusual, etc.:
a dilly of a movie.
Origin of dilly
1930-35; Americanism; earlier as adj.: wonderful, apparently a shortening of delightful or delicious, with -y1 (now taken as -y2) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for dilly
  • His closet full of identical blue, button-down shirts and khaki slacks eliminates sartorial dilly-dally.
  • If you didn't, then your dilly-dallying has been punished with a further ten days of painful anticipation.
  • There is a tried and tested way to stop the dilly-dallying.
  • Couldn't even forcefully encourage him not to dilly-dally in the pocket.
  • But there's really not much time to dilly dally on the feet.
  • One wonders if you're not dilly-dallying for a reason.
  • And the tournament game that forms the climax is a dilly, even though it is contrived.
British Dictionary definitions for dilly


noun (pl) -lies
(slang, mainly US & Canadian) a person or thing that is remarkable
Word Origin
C20: perhaps from girl's proper name Dilly


adjective -lier, -liest
(Austral & NZ, slang) silly
Word Origin
C20: perhaps from silly
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for dilly

"delightful or excellent person or thing" (often used ironically), 1935, American English, from an earlier adjective (1909), perhaps from the first syllable of delightful or delicious, or related to the nursery word for "duck." Dilly was also slang for a stagecoach (1818), from French carrosse de diligence (see diligence).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for dilly



A person or thing that is remarkable, wonderful, superior, etc; beaut, lulu: The last one is a dilly if you don't have an appointment (1935+)

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

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for dilly

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for dilly

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with dilly

Nearby words for dilly