from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • intransitive v. To play amorously; flirt: "Sylvester dallied about Lena until he began to make mistakes in his work” ( Willa Cather). See Synonyms at flirt.
  • intransitive v. To trifle; toy.
  • intransitive v. To waste time; dawdle.
  • transitive v. To waste (time).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Several wraps of rope around the saddle horn, used to stop animals in roping.
  • v. To waste time in voluptuous pleasures, or in idleness; to trifle.
  • v. To interchange caresses, especially of a sexual nature; to use fondling; to wanton; to sport (compare dalliance)
  • v. To delay unnecessarily; to while away.
  • v. To wind the lasso rope around the saddle pummel after the roping of an animal

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To waste time in effeminate or voluptuous pleasures, or in idleness; to fool away time; to delay unnecessarily; to tarry; to trifle.
  • intransitive v. To interchange caresses, especially with one of the opposite sex; to use fondling; to wanton; to sport.
  • transitive v. To delay unnecessarily; to while away.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To talk idly or foolishly; pass the time in idle or frivolous chat.
  • To trifle away time in any manner, as in vague employment or in mere idleness; linger; loiter; delay.
  • To play, sport, frolic, toy, as in exchanging caresses; wanton.
  • To delay; defer; put off.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. waste time
  • v. talk or behave amorously, without serious intentions
  • v. behave carelessly or indifferently
  • v. consider not very seriously


Middle English dalien, from Old French dalier.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English dalyen, from Anglo-Norman delaier (Wiktionary)
Possibly from Spanish "da le la vuelta !" ("twist it around !") by law of Hobson-Jobson. (Wiktionary)


  • Re: Zorro, it was only Antonio Banderas that had Catherine Zeta-Jones to dally with.

    Davy Crockett, the Green Hornet, the Phantom and other heroes of my youth who werent really heroes of my youth

  • We pass by the monastery where De Vinci's Last Supper resides, zoom by the Duomo, under repair as always, head over to the main synagogue, dally at the Piazza, and make our way down the narrowest street in town.

    Danna Harman: Couch Surfing and Me

  • WISCONSINITES SPLIT ON WALKER RECALL - A Wisconsin Public Radio / St. Norbert College survey finds that Wisconsin voters are evenly split on whether to recall Governor Scott Walker for the bill he supported that will likely downgrade state workers' health plans to a dally allowance of one doctor-repelling apple.

    HUFFPOST HILL - Ensign Investigation Won't End

  • So I actually do get the point of not telling your spouse if you've had a one-night stand to avoid a bear trap being affixed to someone's pee-pee, but I don't get why Buffoon would even want to dally with another woman in the first place given the fact that my uncle on my mother's side was a trapper.

    Pat Gallagher: Post-50 One-Night Stands: Don't Try This at Home!

  • I do not dally over the oranges, or squeeze the melons.

    » The Tale of the $15 Mango

  • Persons who are most effective at living lives of purpose and power don't dally with such agenda items.

    Lavaille Lavette: God And Time: The Now We Live

  • There is real work to be done, no time for the dillying of the dally.

    Unkind Myth

  • When you advise a woman to dally with men because they might, in exchange, arrange for that woman “to buy everything from electric blankets to hi-fi records wholesale,” then you have violated the signal code of people who were jolted from the middle class in the 1930s: their ardent desire to behave decently because, for a time in their lives, that behavior was all that separated them from the Helen Gurleys of the world.

    Sex and the Married Man

  • Jane (also played by Streep) is a successful divorcée and mother who in her radiant maturity begins to dally afresh with the man she split from 10 years earlier.

    Double-X Films

  • As it was, I would sprawl out in the shade on my one day of rest and dally with the Sunday papers.

    Chapter 24


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