Definition of shilly-shally in English:


Line breaks: shilly-shally
Pronunciation: /ˈʃɪlɪʃali

verb (shilly-shallies, shilly-shallying, shilly-shallied)

[no object]


[mass noun] Back to top  
  • Indecisive behaviour: a no-nonsense lack of shilly-shally
    More example sentences
    • He had had enough of the shilly-shallying that now dominates the game's upper echelons.
    • One result of this shilly-shallying is that much of the talk about liberty becomes a self-serving charade.
    • But it was so thrilling to be around someone who's been making films for so long that they know exactly what they want and how they want their world to look that there's no shilly-shallying.



(also shilly-shallier) noun
More example sentences
  • They opted instead for a policy of ‘splitting’ whereby the chaff of shilly-shallyers and equivocators could be shorn away to leave a core group of those absolutely committed to revolution at all costs.
  • It is the shilly-shalliers who have contributed most to the present deplorable state of your society.
  • The author has it in for politicians, liberals, student activists, pinkos and shilly-shallyers.


mid 18th century: originally as shill I, shall I, reduplication of shall I?.

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Pronunciation: skəʊʃ
a small amount; a little