Printable Version
Pronunciation: lah-li-gæg Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb, intransitive

Meaning: (Humorous slang) 1. To dawdle, to mess around, to delay someone or something by moving slowly. 2. To mess around, to pet or neck in secret, away from prying eyes.

Notes: Remember to double up on the Gs when you add a suffix to this silly word: lollygagged, lollygagging, lollygagger. Lollygagging serves as both an adjective and process noun, so you can speak freely of someone's lollygagging or their lollygagging ways.

In Play: You wouldn't want to use such a substandard slang word like lollygag in a job application, but it is a funny word to use when you want to hurry someone up without offending them: "Griselda, stop lollygagging and let's go. You can put your nails on when we get back!" This lets Griselda know that you are still in a good mood. Be careful not to confuse the second sense of this word with the first, though: "Griselda, I heard that you and Les Canoodle were lollygagging in the back of his car last Saturday night." In Britain, where lolly is loot from a crime and gagging is choking, this quaint Americanism might evoke less amusement.

Word History: This word is compounded from loll "to lie about, relax" + gag "to trick, fool". Loll is still used in phrases such as loll about "to do nothing, take it easy." The verb to gag, however, isn't used today in the sense of "to fool", but the noun gag is still lolling around with the meaning "a joke or trick". The original compound seems to have implied a delay amounting to tomfoolery. A bit of that meaning lingers in the canoodling sense of lollygag today.

Dr. Goodword,

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