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

  • transitive v. To postpone until a later time; defer.
  • transitive v. To cause to be later or slower than expected or desired: Heavy traffic delayed us.
  • intransitive v. To act or move slowly; put off an action or a decision.
  • n. The act of delaying; postponement: responded without delay.
  • n. The condition of being delayed; detainment.
  • n. The period of time during which one is delayed.
  • n. The interval of time between two events.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To put off until a later time; to distract.
  • v. To retard; to stop, detain, or hinder, for a time.
  • n. previously unexpected period of time before an event occurs; the act of delaying.
  • v. To dilute, temper.
  • v. To assuage, quench, allay.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A putting off or deferring; procrastination; lingering inactivity; stop; detention; hindrance.
  • intransitive v. To move slowly; to stop for a time; to linger; to tarry.
  • transitive v. To put off; to defer; to procrastinate; to prolong the time of or before.
  • transitive v. To retard; to stop, detain, or hinder, for a time; to retard the motion, or time of arrival, of.
  • transitive v. To allay; to temper.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To put off; defer; postpone; remit to a later time, as something to be done.
  • To retard; stop, detain, or hinder for a time; obstruct or impede the course or progress of: as, the mail is delayed by bad roads.
  • To linger; move slowly; stop for a time; loiter; be dilatory.
  • To alloy; dilute; temper; soften; weaken.
  • n. A putting off; a deferring; an extension of the time; postponement; procrastination: as, the delay of trial.
  • n. A lingering; loitering; stay; hindrance to progress.

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

  • v. cause to be slowed down or delayed
  • n. the act of delaying; inactivity resulting in something being put off until a later time
  • v. stop or halt
  • v. slow the growth or development of
  • n. time during which some action is awaited
  • v. act later than planned, scheduled, or required


Middle English delaien, from Anglo-Norman delaier, from Old French deslaier : des-, de- + laier, to leave, of Germanic origin; see leip- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English delaien, from Anglo-Norman delaier, Old French deslaier, from des- + Old French laier ("to leave"), a conflation of Old Frankish *latjan ("to delay, hinder"; from Proto-Germanic *latjanan (“to delay, hinder, stall”), from Proto-Indo-European *le(i)d- (“to leave, leave behind”)), and Old Frankish *laibjan ("to leave"; from Proto-Germanic *laibijanan (“to leave, cause to stay”), from Proto-Indo-European *leip- (“to remain, continue”)). Akin to Old English latian ("to delay, hesitate"), Old English latu ("a delay, a hindrance"), Old English lǣfan ("to leave"). More at let (to hinder), late, leave. (Wiktionary)
From Middle French délayer, ultimately from Latin dis- + ligāre. (Wiktionary)



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