Dilatory (adjective) means inclined to delay or procrastinate; causing delay; characterized by tardiness or slowness in action.


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



Delaying, procrastinating, slow, sluggish, tardy, laggard


Prompt, punctual, expedient, hasty, expeditious

Word Forms

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

Example Sentences

  • The employee’s dilatory attitude towards completing his assignments has caused frustration among his colleagues who rely on his work.

  • The government’s dilatory response to the environmental crisis has resulted in further damage to the ecosystem.

  • The student’s dilatory behavior in submitting assignments resulted in a significant drop in their grades.

  • The company’s dilatory approach to customer complaints led to a decline in customer satisfaction and loss of business.


The word “dilatory” comes from the Latin root “dilatorius,” meaning “tending to delay.” It is commonly used to describe individuals or actions that exhibit a tendency to postpone or delay tasks, often resulting in inefficiency or frustration. As an adjective, it is used to highlight the slowness or tardiness in someone’s actions, decisions, or responses.

Prefixes, suffixes, or other variations of the word “dilatory” are not commonly used. However, it can be combined with other words to provide more specific descriptions, such as “dilatory tactics,” “dilatory behavior,” or “dilatory response.”

In various contexts, the term “dilatory” can be applied to individuals, organizations, or processes. It can refer to someone who habitually puts off tasks or fails to act promptly, causing delays and disruptions. Additionally, it can describe actions or strategies intentionally employed to delay or hinder progress, such as in legal proceedings or negotiations.

It is important to note that while “dilatory” generally has a negative connotation, there may be instances where intentional delays or careful consideration of actions can be seen as a strategic approach. However, in most cases, being labeled as dilatory suggests a lack of urgency or efficiency, often leading to frustration or inconvenience for others involved.