What does delay mean?

Definitions for delay

Here are all the possible meanings 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.

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.]

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. Richard Pazdur:

    We recognize that patients with cancer constitute a vulnerable population at risk of contracting the coronavirus disease, in this critical time, we remain steadfast in our commitment to patients with cancer and doing everything we can to expedite oncology product development. Tukysa was approved four months prior to the The FDA goal date, providing an example of this commitment and showing how our regular work in reviewing treatments for patients with cancer is moving forward without delay.

  2. Mark Cannizzaro:

    We're hopeful that DOE employees offer proof of vaccination in high numbers in the coming days, but optimism is not a viable strategy, any staffing shortage, especially during a pandemic, is a threat to the health and safety of both students and personnel. It is dangerous and irresponsible for the city to move forward with its plan to allow schools and centers to operate so severely understaffed. As a result, we are calling on the city to delay the deadline for the mandate to allow the city to develop a reasonable contingency plan.

  3. Democratic Leader Harry Reid:

    He is allowing himself and his committee to be manipulated by the Republican leader for narrow, partisan warfare. He is taking his orders from the Republican leader and, sadly, Donald Trump, donald Trump on this issue, when asked about it, his words were three: 'Delay, delay, delay.' Grassley must have been listening.

  4. Paul Springmeyer:

    The July (Fed) statement was pretty dovish and more so than anticipated, I wouldn't be shocked to see another delay and have the timing pushed back.

  5. Gloria Allred:

    We are pleased that we will now be able to move ahead without further delay on Ms. Huth's case.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for delay

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"delay." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 8 Feb. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/delay>.

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    someone who takes the place of another person
    • A. plush
    • B. alternate
    • C. brilliant
    • D. handsome

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