Word of the Day

Monday, March 11, 2013

shilly-shally

\SHIL-ee-shal-ee\ , verb;
1.
to show indecision or hesitation; be irresolute; vacillate.
2.
to waste time; dawdle.
noun:
1.
irresolution; indecision; vacillation: It was sheer shilly-shally on his part.
adjective:
1.
irresolute; undecided; vacillating.
Quotes:
Great mistake—Make up your mind and don't shilly shally.
-- Agatha Christie, A Caribbean Mystery, 1964
But look, Your Highness, I didn't come to shilly-shally, so don't say anything to inhibit her. I want it straight.
-- Saul Bellow, Henderson the Rain King, 1959
Origin:
In the great tradition of reduplicating a phrase to infuse it with a dose of levity, shilly-shally comes from the phrase “shall I, shall I.” When shilly-shally first entered English at the turn of the eighteenth century, it was spelled "shill I, shall I."
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