verb (dilly-dallies, dilly-dallying, dilly-dallied)[no object] informal
- It's never too early to start loitering, and dilly-dallying.
- Don't four-year-olds often dilly-dally, stall, and do just about everything slowly?
- While they're dilly-dallying, my house is falling apart.
Early 17th century: reduplication of dally.
shilly-shally from mid 18th century:
People unable to make up their minds whether to do something are likely to ask themselves ‘Shall I?’ repeatedly. With the rhyming impulse also seen in dilly-dally (early 17th century) (dally came from the French for ‘to chat’ in the Middle Ages) and willy-nilly, people in the 18th century mocked this tendency by expanding it to ‘shill I, shall I?’, and so shilly-shally was born.
Words that rhyme with dilly-dallyAli, alley, Allie, Ally, bally, dally, farfalle, galley, Halley, mallee, Mexicali, pally, Raleigh, rally, reveille, sally, tally, valley
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