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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).



dawdle (third-person singular simple present dawdles, present participle dawdling, simple past and past participle dawdled)

  1. (intransitive) To spend time idly and unfruitfully, to waste time.
    • 1909, E.M. Forster, “I”, in The Machine Stops:
      I really believe you enjoy dawdling.
    • 2011 October 29, Neil Johnston, “Norwich 3 - 3 Blackburn”, in BBC Sport[1]:
      However all Hennessey's good work went to waste on 52 minutes when he dawdled on the ball.
    • Johnson
      Come some evening and dawdle over a dish of tea with me.
  2. (transitive) To spend (time) without haste or purpose.
    to dawdle away the whole morning
  3. (intransitive) To move or walk lackadaisically.
    • Thackeray
      We [] dawdle up and down Pall Mall.
    If you dawdle on your daily walk, you won't get as much exercise.


See alsoEdit


dawdle (plural dawdles)

  1. A dawdler.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Colman & Carrick to this entry?)