First attested around 1656; variant of daddle (“to walk unsteadily”), perhaps influenced by daw, since the bird was regarded as sluggish and silly. Not in general use until around 1775. Compare also German daddeln (“to play”), German verdaddeln (“to waste (time), neglect, ruin”).
- (intransitive) To spend time idly and unfruitfully, to waste time.
2011 October 29, Neil Johnston, “Norwich 3 - 3 Blackburn”, in BBC Sport:
- However all Hennessey's good work went to waste on 52 minutes when he dawdled on the ball.
- Come some evening and dawdle over a dish of tea with me.
- (transitive) To spend (time) without haste or purpose.
to dawdle away the whole morning
- (intransitive) To move or walk lackadaisically.
- We […] dawdle up and down Pall Mall.
If you dawdle on your daily walk, you won't get as much exercise.
dawdle (plural dawdles)
- A dawdler.
- A slow walk, journey.
2017, Colin G. Pooley, Jean Turnbull, Mags Adams, A Mobile Century?: Changes in Everyday Mobility in Britain in the Twentieth Century:
- For many the journey home from school was not a walk but a 'dawdle'
- An easily accomplished task; a doddle.
2009, Archie Macpherson, A Game of Two Halves: The Autobiography:
- He was a QC from Edinburgh, wearing the black jacket and pinstripe trousers of his trade, as if straight from court, and probably persuaded to come in the belief that if you could interest the Budhill and Springboig party in the repressive Gaullist policies in Algeria then becoming Solicitor-General was a dawdle.