What does delay mean?

Definitions for delay

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word delay.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. delay, hold, time lag, postponement, waitnoun

    time during which some action is awaited

    "instant replay caused too long a delay"; "he ordered a hold in the action"

  2. delay, holdupverb

    the act of delaying; inactivity resulting in something being put off until a later time

  3. delay, detain, hold upverb

    cause to be slowed down or delayed

    "Traffic was delayed by the bad weather"; "she delayed the work that she didn't want to perform"

  4. delayverb

    act later than planned, scheduled, or required

    "Don't delay your application to graduate school or else it won't be considered"

  5. stay, detain, delayverb

    stop or halt

    "Please stay the bloodshed!"

  6. check, retard, delayverb

    slow the growth or development of

    "The brain damage will retard the child's language development"


  1. delaynoun

    previously unexpected period of time before an event occurs; the act of delaying.

  2. delayverb

    To put off until a later time; to distract.

  3. delayverb

    To retard; to stop, detain, or hinder, for a time.

  4. Etymology: From delaien, from delaier, deslaier, from des- + laier, a conflation of Old, and Old. Akin to latian, latu, læfan. More at let (to hinder), late, leave.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Delaynoun

    A deferring; procrastination; lingering inactivity.

    Etymology: from the verb.

    I have learn’d that fearful commenting
    Is leaden servitor to dull delay;
    Delay leads impotent and snail-pac’d beggary. William Shakespeare, R. III.

    The conduct of our lives, and the management of our great concerns, will not bear delay. John Locke.

    The keeper charm’d, the chief without delay
    Pass’d on, and took the irremediable way. John Dryden, Æn. 6.

  2. To DELAYverb

    Etymology: from delayer, French.

    And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron. Ex. xxxii. 1.

    She flies the town, and mixing with a throng
    Of madding matrons, bears the bride along:
    Wand’ring through woods and wilds, and devious ways,
    And with these arts the Trojan match delays. John Dryden, Æn.

    Be mindful, goddess, of thy promise made!
    Must sad Ulysses ever be delay’d? Alexander Pope, Odyssey, b. x.

  3. To Delayverb

    To stop; to cease from action.

    There seem to be certain bounds to the quickness and slowness of the succession of those ideas one to another in our minds, beyond which they can neither delay nor hasten. John Locke.


  1. delay

    Delay refers to the postponement or slowing down of an action, event, or process. It may be used in different contexts including computing, telecommunications, and project management, often implying a longer duration than originally expected or planned.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Delay

    a putting off or deferring; procrastination; lingering inactivity; stop; detention; hindrance

  2. Delaynoun

    to put off; to defer; to procrastinate; to prolong the time of or before

  3. Delaynoun

    to retard; to stop, detain, or hinder, for a time; to retard the motion, or time of arrival, of; as, the mail is delayed by a heavy fall of snow

  4. Delaynoun

    to allay; to temper

  5. Delayverb

    to move slowly; to stop for a time; to linger; to tarry

  6. Etymology: [OF. deleer, delaier, fr. the noun dlai, or directly fr. L. dilatare to enlarge, dilate, in LL., to put off. See Delay, n., and cf. Delate, 1st Defer, Dilate.]


  1. Delay

    Delay is an audio effect which records an input signal to an audio storage medium, and then plays it back after a period of time. The delayed signal may either be played back multiple times, or played back into the recording again, to create the sound of a repeating, decaying echo.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Delay

    de-lā′, v.t. to put off to another time: to defer: to hinder or retard.—v.i. to pause, linger, or put off time.—n. a putting off or deferring: a lingering: hinderance:—pr.p. delay′ing; pa.p. delayed′.—n. Delay′er.—adv. Delay′ingly. [O. Fr. delaier—L. differre, dilātumdis, apart, ferre, to carry.]

  2. Delay

    de-lā′, v.t. (Spens.) to temper, dilute, weaken. [Fr. délayer, dilute—L. deliquāre, clarify.]

Surnames Frequency by Census Records

  1. DELAY

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Delay is ranked #9037 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Delay surname appeared 3,616 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 1 would have the surname Delay.

    82.1% or 2,970 total occurrences were White.
    7.5% or 273 total occurrences were Black.
    4.1% or 151 total occurrences were Asian.
    3.4% or 125 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.
    1.8% or 68 total occurrences were of two or more races.
    0.8% or 29 total occurrences were American Indian or Alaskan Native.

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'delay' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #4077

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'delay' in Written Corpus Frequency: #4483

  3. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'delay' in Nouns Frequency: #1299

  4. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'delay' in Verbs Frequency: #609

How to pronounce delay?

How to say delay in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of delay in Chaldean Numerology is: 5

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of delay in Pythagorean Numerology is: 2

Examples of delay in a Sentence

  1. Edward Lubis:

    Business people are seeing this as political instability, which may delay some developments.

  2. Advocate General Priit Pikamae:

    A passenger biting other passengers and attacking the cabin crew trying to calm him down, resulting in the deviation of a Lisbon-Fortaleza flight to the nearest airport in order to disembark this passenger and his baggage, leading to a flight delay, falls under the concept of extraordinary circumstances.

  3. The CDC:

    Some women and their partners residing in areas with active Zika virus transmission may decide to delay pregnancy.

  4. John Hannah:

    The delay in liberating Mosul was almost entirely a function of the Obama Doctrine administration’s ‘ light footprint ’ approach to the conflict.

  5. The ICC:

    Ukraine will cooperate with the court without delay or exception.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for delay

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"delay." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 2 Mar. 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/delay>.

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    the trait of showing courage and determination in spite of possible loss or injury
    • A. anil
    • B. ditch
    • C. pluck
    • D. ternion

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