Dilatory means intending to delay or procrastinate, causing delay or slowness.


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



slow, tardy, sluggish, procrastinating, dragging, delayed, time-wasting, lagging, dawdling, laggard.


Prompt, quick, fast, expeditious, hasty, instant, immediate, efficient.

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun None
Verb None
Adjective dilatory
Adverb None

Example Sentences

  • His dilatory attitude towards completing his work resulted in the delay of the entire project.

  • The restaurant’s dilatory service caused them to receive a lot of negative reviews.

  • Mary’s dilatory response to the email annoyed her boss, who expected a prompt reply.

  • The government’s dilatory approach to climate change is causing irreversible damage to the environment.


Dilatory is a term used to describe someone or something that causes delay or procrastinates. The word is derived from the Latin word ‘dilatorius’ which means ‘procrastinating.’ The prefix ‘di’ means ‘apart’ or ‘away’ while the suffix ‘tory’ means ‘characteristics of.’ Hence, dilatory could be interpreted as ‘characterized by delaying or postponing.’

The word can be used in various contexts such as in formal writing or everyday conversation. Synonyms for dilatory include slow, tardy, and sluggish, while antonyms include prompt, quick, and efficient. Using dilatory in writing or conversation helps one to express their disapproval or frustration towards someone or something that continuously delays or postpones.

In legal contexts, dilatory tactics refer to methods used by one party to delay a legal proceeding. For instance, if a defendant continuously files frivolous motions in court to delay the proceedings, the judge may reprimand them for their dilatory tactics. Thus, the usage of dilatory in a legal context aids in describing the actions of a party who aims to delay or hinder the proceedings to their advantage.

The word dilatory could also be used to describe the behavior of an individual in everyday situations. For instance, if someone were always late to meetings or appointments, it would be appropriate to describe their behavior as dilatory. Similarly, in academic settings, a student who continuously procrastinates and delays completing their assignments is said to have a dilatory attitude toward their studies.

In conclusion, the versatile nature of the word dilatory and its usage in several contexts makes it a valuable word in writing and conversational English. Whether to describe an individual’s behavior in everyday situations, legal tactics or delays in business, the word dilatory provides a precise and accurate description.