Meaning of DELAY in English

I. di-ˈlā, dē- noun

Date: 13th century


a. : the act of delaying : the state of being delayed

get started without delay

b. : an instance of being delayed

2. : the time during which something is delayed

a delay of 30 minutes

II. verb

Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French delaier, from de- + laier to leave, from lai-, present and future stem of lesser, laisser to leave, from Latin laxare to slacken, from laxus loose — more at slack

Date: 14th century

transitive verb

1. : put off , postpone

delay a departure

2. : to stop, detain, or hinder for a time

the mails were delay ed by heavy snows

3. : to cause to be slower or to occur more slowly than normal

delay a child's development

intransitive verb

: to move or act slowly ; also : to cause delay

• de·lay·er noun


delay , retard , slow , slacken , detain mean to cause to be late or behind in movement or progress. delay implies a holding back, usually by interference, from completion or arrival

bad weather delayed our arrival

retard suggests reduction of speed without actual stopping

language barriers retarded their progress

slow and slacken also imply a reduction of speed, slow often suggesting deliberate intention

medication slowed the patient's heart rate

slacken an easing up or relaxing of power or effort

on hot days runners slacken their pace

detain implies a holding back beyond a reasonable or appointed time

unexpected business had detained her


delay , procrastinate , lag , loiter , dawdle , dally mean to move or act slowly so as to fall behind. delay usually implies a putting off (as a beginning or departure)

we cannot delay any longer

procrastinate implies blameworthy delay especially through laziness or apathy

procrastinates about making decisions

lag implies failure to maintain a speed set by others

lagging behind in technology

loiter and dawdle imply delay while in progress, especially in walking, but dawdle more clearly suggests an aimless wasting of time

loitered at several store windows

children dawdling on their way home from school

dally suggests delay through trifling or vacillation when promptness is necessary

stop dallying and get to work

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate English vocabulary.      Энциклопедический словарь английского языка Merriam Webster.