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shilly-shally

[shil-ee-shal-ee] /ˈʃɪl iˌʃæl i/
verb (used without object), shilly-shallied, shilly-shallying.
1.
to show indecision or hesitation; be irresolute; vacillate.
2.
to waste time; dawdle.
noun, plural shilly-shallies.
3.
irresolution; indecision; vacillation:
It was sheer shilly-shally on his part.
adjective
4.
irresolute; undecided; vacillating.
adverb
Origin
1690-1700
1690-1700; orig. repeated question, shall I? shall I? later altered on the model of its synonym dilly-dally
Related forms
shilly-shallier, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Word Origin and History for shilly-shally
v.

"to vacillate," 1782, from adverbial expression to stand shilly-shally (1703), earlier shill I, shall I (1700), a fanciful reduplication of shall I? (cf. wishy-washy, dilly-dally, etc.). From 1734 as an adjective, by 1755 as a noun. Related: Shilly-shallying (1816).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for shilly-shally

shilly-shally

verb

To vacillate; be irresolute: For god sake, stop shilly-shallying and make up your mind

[1782+; found by 1700 in form shill I shall I]


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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