v. dal·lied, dal·ly·ing, dal·lies
1. To play amorously; flirt: My friend dallied with my cousin during the picnic.
2. To consider or occupy oneself with something in a careless or unserious fashion; toy. See Synonyms at flirt.
3. To dawdle, delay, or linger: Don't dally or we'll miss the train.
To spend (time) idly: dally away the afternoon.
[Middle English dalien, from Anglo-Norman dalier, to dally, chat with, deal with, negotiate with, perhaps from Middle English del, deal, or Middle English delen, dælen, to deal, give, utter (from Old English dǣlan, to divide, share; see DEAL1), or perhaps from an unattested Old English or other Germanic source akin to German dahlen, to joke, trifle with, flirt (perhaps of imitative origin).]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.