verb (used without object), shil·ly-shal·lied, shil·ly-shal·ly·ing.

  1. to show indecision or hesitation; be irresolute; vacillate.
  2. to waste time; dawdle.

noun, plural shil·ly-shal·lies.

  1. irresolution; indecision; vacillation: It was sheer shilly-shally on his part.


  1. irresolute; undecided; vacillating.


  1. irresolutely.

verb -lies, -lying or -lied

  1. (intr) to be indecisive, esp over unimportant matters; hesitate


  1. in an indecisive manner


  1. indecisive or hesitant

noun plural -lies

  1. indecision or hesitation; vacillation

v.“to vacillate,” 1782, from adverbial expression to stand shilly-shally (1703), earlier shill I, shall I (1700), a fanciful reduplication of shall I? (cf. wishy-washy, dilly-dally, etc.). From 1734 as an adjective, by 1755 as a noun. Related: Shilly-shallying (1816).

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