Definition of delay in English:


Syllabification: de·lay
Pronunciation: /diˈlā


[with object]
  • 1Make (someone or something) late or slow: the train was delayed
    More example sentences
    • I wonder if there's another clause fining you if your train delays other people's trains.
    • First, relevant personnel were delayed by the train chaos and then I understand the equipment broke down.
    • This delays plan development, slows the response to changing plans, and increases vulnerability to failure for want of adequate support.
    detain, hold up, make late, slow up/down, bog down; hinder, hamper, impede, obstruct
  • 1.1 [no object] Be late or slow; loiter: time being of the essence, they delayed no longer
    More example sentences
    • For example, when we are trying to go somewhere I sometimes feel that Simon is dawdling and delaying.
    • He's a liar, he's a prevaricator, he delays: I hold no brief for him as an individual or for his policies.
    • But the longer he delays, the greater the risk that the project turns out to be a flop.
    linger, dally, drag one's feet, be slow, hold back, dawdle, waste time; procrastinate, stall, hang fire, mark time, temporize, hesitate, dither, shilly-shally, dilly-dally
    archaic tarry
  • 1.2Postpone or defer (an action): he may decide to delay the next cut in interest rates
    More example sentences
    • Most governors and legislatures would rather make budget cuts or delay some of their tax cuts for now.
    • Her ankle would take a while to heal so we decided to press, there was no point in delaying any longer than we had to.
    • The Faculty of the University recommended him for a chair of theoretical physics but the Department of Educational Affairs decided to delay confirming the post.
    postpone, put off, defer, hold over, shelve, suspend, stay; reschedule, put over, push back, table
    informal put on ice, back-burner, put on the back burner, put in cold storage


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  • 1A period of time by which something is late or postponed: a two-hour delay long delays in obtaining passports
    More example sentences
    • Bank transfers are prone to delays in the Christmas period as officials all over the world take a few days off.
    • With continuing delays in constructing the new parliament building, Ministers will be forced to look for alternative accommodation.
    • He is anxious that the Minister would resolves all issues surrounding the delays in payment before he leaves office.
  • 1.1The action of delaying or being delayed: I set off without delay
    More example sentences
    • Yet all we are hearing here, in her fourth year as Minister, is all this delay and dilly-dallying and shilly-shallying.
    • Any sensible Englishman does the same, knowing that the English weather most often delivers up summer in short bursts, to be enjoyed without delay or hesitation.
    • ‘It is time the Government ended the dither and delay,’ he said.
    procrastination, stalling, hesitation, dithering, dallying, lollygagging, dawdling
  • 1.2 Electronics The time interval between the propagation of an electrical signal and its reception.
    More example sentences
    • Finally, the average period of the oscillator is related to the average signal propagation delay through the test circuit.
    • Then in design, you'll have to handle delays in signal propagation, circuit shape starts playing a strong role in design.
    • The modified write inhibit threshold essentially facilitates an acceptable delay in activating a write inhibit signal.
  • 1.3An electronic device that introduces a time interval, especially in an audio signal.
    More example sentences
    • The programmable delay cells provide that propagation delays can be set to perform timing margin tests.



More example sentences
  • My generation of marriage delayers drifted into this period without any real understanding of its value or meaning.
  • This was by necessity a long term strategy and gave rise to the term, Fabian tactic as well as earning Maximus the name Cunctator - the delayer.
  • Among those men, 53% said they were not interested in getting married anytime soon - the marriage delayers.


Middle English: from Old French delayer (verb).

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