English

Definition of shilly-shally verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

 

shilly-shally

 verb
verb
BrE BrE//ˈʃɪli ʃæli//
 
; NAmE NAmE//ˈʃɪli ʃæli//
 
[intransitive] (informal, disapproving)Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they shilly-shally
BrE BrE//ˈʃɪli ʃæli//
 
; NAmE NAmE//ˈʃɪli ʃæli//
 
he / she / it shilly-shallies
BrE BrE//ˈʃɪli ʃæliz//
 
; NAmE NAmE//ˈʃɪli ʃæliz//
 
past simple shilly-shallied
BrE BrE//ˈʃɪli ʃælid//
 
; NAmE NAmE//ˈʃɪli ʃælid//
 
past participle shilly-shallied
BrE BrE//ˈʃɪli ʃælid//
 
; NAmE NAmE//ˈʃɪli ʃælid//
 
-ing form shilly-shallying
BrE BrE//ˈʃɪli ʃæliɪŋ//
 
; NAmE NAmE//ˈʃɪli ʃæliɪŋ//
 
 
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to take a long time to do something, especially to make a decision synonym dither Stop shilly-shallying and make up your mind. More Like This Reduplicative words airy-fairy, argy-bargy, chit-chat, criss-cross, dilly-dally, harum-scarum, helter-skelter, higgledy-piggledy, hocus-pocus, hoity-toity, hotchpotch, hurly-burly, itty-bitty, mumbo jumbo, mishmash, nitty-gritty, ping-pong, pitter-patter, shilly-shally, teeny-weeny, tittle-tattle, touchy-feely, wishy-washySee worksheet. Word Origin mid 18th cent.: originally as shill I, shall I, reduplication of shall I?
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: shilly-shally