AskDefine | Define delay

Dictionary Definition



1 time during which some action is awaited; "instant replay caused too long a delay"; "he ordered a hold in the action" [syn: hold, time lag, postponement, wait]
2 the act of delaying; inactivity resulting in something being put off until a later time [syn: holdup]


1 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" [syn: detain, hold up] [ant: rush]
2 act later than planned, scheduled, or required; "Don't delay your application to graduate school or else it won't be considered"
3 stop or halt; "Please stay the bloodshed!" [syn: stay, detain]
4 slow the growth or development of; "The brain damage will retard the child's language development" [syn: check, retard]

User Contributed Dictionary




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


previously unexpected period of time
  • Czech: zpoždění
  • Finnish: viivästys
  • French: délai, retard
  • German: Verzögerung
  • Icelandic: töf
  • Japanese: 遅れ (okure)
  • Kurdish: ,
  • Russian: задержка
  • Spanish: retraso


  1. To put off until a later time; to distract.

Usage notes


  • Dutch: uitstellen
  • Finnish: viivyttää, viivästyttää, siirtää
  • French: retarder
  • German: (sich) verspäten, (etwas) verschieben
  • Kurdish:
  • Russian: откладывать , отложить
  • Spanish: retrasar
  • Swedish: skjuta upp
  • Turkish: ertelemek, rötar

Extensive Definition

In its general sense, delay refers to a lapse of time. In other contexts, it may refer to one of many topics:


Telecommunications and broadcasting

Physics and electronics

  • Propagation delay, a measurement of the time for a signal to reach its destination
  • Delay line, one of any technologies for shifting a signal in time


Computer Science

  • Delay (programming), a programming language construct for delaying evaluation of an expression


delay in German: Delay
delay in French: Retard
delay in Italian: Delay

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

abide, adjourn, afterthought, arrest, arrestation, arrestment, await, backpedal, backwater, be a sideliner, be still, bide, bide the issue, bind, block, blockage, blocking, bog down, bottle up, brake, bureaucratic delay, check, clip the wings, clogging, closing up, closure, coast, confine, constriction, continue, countercheck, cramp, curb, dally, dam up, damp, dampen, dawdle, dawdling, decelerate, deceleration, defer, deferment, deferral, delayage, delayed reaction, detain, detainment, detention, dilly, dillydally, do nothing, double take, drag, drag along, drag out, dragging, draw rein, drift, drone, ease off, ease up, ease-off, ease-up, extend, falter, fixation, flag, flagging, foot-dragging, gap, goof off, halt, hampering, hang about, hang around, hang back, hang fire, hang up, hang-up, hesitate, hiatus, hibernate, hinder, hindering, hindrance, hold back, hold everything, hold in check, hold off, hold on, hold over, hold up, hold your horses, hold-up, holdback, holdup, idle, impede, impediment, inhibit, inhibition, interference, interim, interlude, intermeddle, intermit, interrupt, interruption, interval, intervene, jam, keep, keep back, keep in check, lacuna, lag, lag behind, lagging, lay aside, lay away, lay by, lay over, let, let down, let up, letdown, letup, lie dormant, linger, logjam, loiter, loitering, lollygag, lose ground, lose momentum, lose speed, lull, make late, mark time, meddle, minus acceleration, mire, moderate, moratorium, mull, negativism, not budge, not stir, nuisance value, obstruct, obstruction, obstructionism, occlusion, oppose, opposition, paperasserie, pause, pigeonhole, poke, poke along, postpone, postponement, procrastinate, prolong, prorogate, prorogue, protract, push aside, put aside, put away, put in mothballs, put off, put on ice, recess, red tape, red-tapeism, red-tapery, reef, rein in, relax, repress, repression, reprieve, reserve, resist, resistance, respite, rest, restrain, restraint, restriction, retard, retardance, retardation, retardment, scotch, set aside, set back, set by, setback, shelve, shift off, shilly-shally, shilly-shallying, sideline, sit back, sit it out, sit tight, sit up, slack off, slack up, slack-up, slacken, slackening, sleep on, slow, slow down, slow up, slow-up, slowdown, slowing, slowing down, slowness, slowup, snub, squeeze, stagnate, stall, stand over, stave off, stay, stay of execution, stay up, stick around, stop, stoppage, store, stow, stranglehold, stretch out, stricture, suppress, suppression, suspend, suspension, table, table the motion, take a recess, take in sail, take time, tarry, tarrying, temporize, throttle down, tie-up, time lag, trail, vacillate, vegetate, wait, wait a minute, wait and see, waiting, waive, waste time, watch and wait, waver
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