follow Dictionary.com

Love words? Sign up for our Word of the Day!

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.
Cite This Source
British Dictionary definitions for shillyshally

shillyshally

/ˈʃɪlɪˌʃælɪ/
verb -lies, -lying, -lied
1.
(intransitive) to be indecisive, esp over unimportant matters; hesitate
adverb
2.
in an indecisive manner
adjective
3.
indecisive or hesitant
noun (pl) -lies
4.
indecision or hesitation; vacillation
Derived Forms
shillyshallier, noun
Word Origin
C18: from shill I shall I, by reduplication of shall I
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 shillyshally

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
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for shillyshally

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.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for shilly-shally

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for shillyshally

0
0
Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for shillyshally