Definition of dilatory in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈdiləˌtôrē/


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.
slow, tardy, unhurried, sluggish, sluggardly, snaillike, lazy
1.1Intended to cause delay: they resorted to dilatory procedural 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.
delaying, stalling, temporizing, procrastinating, time-wasting, filibustering



Pronunciation: /ˌdiləˈtôrəlē/
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: /ˈdiləˌtôrēnəs/
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

Syllabification: dil·a·to·ry

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