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Definition: the deliberate act of delaying or playing instead of working, wasting of time, a playful flirtation or a casual relationship sexual, romantic or otherwise. Any period of brief involvement.

Pronunciation: del-ly-ANS


This word originates in Middle English, and is the noun of the ‘dally’ verb, meaning to act or move slowly. The verb, in turn, is of uncertain origin, but is dated back to the 1300’s, during which I stood for conversation or talk. The sense of wasting time is dated back to the 1400’s.

According to one of the theories, this term originates in the Anglo-French dalier meaning ‘to amuse one’s self’.

Why this word?

This great word was suggested to us by Corey O, an avid reader who owns the “use suggested” section of the site!

Moreover though, this word has three different meanings- all to my liking!

I am very fond of the underlying connection offered by this word between the waste of time, casual relationships and brief involvements of any sort. If we considered the time wasted prior to the initial involvement with something we know will not last, perhaps we will waste less time… After all, time is of the essence.

How to use the word dalliance in a sentence?

Dalliance is a noun, thus it cannot describe an act, but is a sort of an act.

“Clearly, there is nothing more than dalliance in the relationship between David and Dana; he knows it would lead nowhere but he enjoys it too much”.

“Dalliance is David’s favorite activity. I wish he would have done more work!”


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Written by Victoria Sheinkin

Victoria Sheinkin is a writer, content editor, translator and chief editor for Speaking three and a half languages, she holds two BAs from the Tel Aviv university- Communication and jounalism, English literature and linguistics.


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