Definition of dilatory in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈdɪlət(ə)ri/


1Slow to act: he had been dilatory in appointing a solicitor
More example sentences
  • Dismantling such structures has proved difficult, and the process of economic reform has often been tentative, dilatory, and slow.
  • Once wide awake, even enterprising, they slowly become dilatory, leaden, slow, laggard, and lumpish.
  • That is changing, but employers can be dilatory in encouraging nurses to put in complaints because it is seen as bad publicity for the hospital.
1.1Intended to cause delay: they resorted to dilatory tactics, forcing a postponement of peace talks
More example sentences
  • Nor can we rely on escalatory steps such as economic sanctions to pressure it as it employs dilatory and diversionary tactics to complete its final solution.
  • But, as he said, we shouldn't allow them to engage in hair-splitting and dilatory tactics.
  • Previously, dilatory tactics were out of order only after cloture had been invoked.



Example sentences
  • One problem for me as a blogger is that I read voraciously but write very dilatorily and distractedly.
  • In his case the Office acted dilatorily and in bad faith.
  • He is working, dilatorily, on a book on failed alternatives to Romanticism.


Pronunciation: /ˈdɪlət(ə)rɪnəs/
Example sentences
  • The proposal is largely uncontroversial, but the dilatoriness of the government has held things up.
  • Nor, if the effect of its dilatoriness is to put the defence in a position where the defence is not ready for the trial can the Crown seek an extension and show that it has acted with all due expedition.
  • I hope that the Minister, who has shown a fair amount of dilatoriness in terms of bringing this important bill to the Committee, will take a call and assure us that that will be possible.


Late Middle English: from late Latin dilatorius 'delaying', from Latin dilator 'delayer', from dilat- 'deferred', from the verb differre.

Words that rhyme with dilatory

depilatory, oscillatory

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: dila|tory

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