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shilly-shally

Overview page.

Fail to act resolutely or decisively; originally from a reduplication, shill I, shall I, as used in Congreve's Way of the World (1700).

See overview in Oxford Index

shilly-shally

Edited by T. F. Hoad.

in The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology

January 1996; p ublished online January 2003 .

Reference Entry. Subjects: History of English. 25 words.

phr. stand or go shill I, shall I vacillate, be irresolute XVII; adj. vacillating; sb. vacillation XVIII. f. shall

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shilly-shally

Edited by Elizabeth Knowles.

in The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable

January 2005; p ublished online January 2006 .

Reference Entry. Subjects: History of English. 25 words.

fail to act resolutely or decisively; originally from a reduplication, shill I, shall I, as used in Congreve's Way

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shilly-shally

Overview page.

Fail to act resolutely or decisively; originally from a reduplication, shill I, shall I, as used in Congreve's Way of the World (1700).

See overview in Oxford Index

Shilly-shally

Edited by Susie Dent.

in Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable

January 2012; p ublished online January 2013 .

Reference Entry. Subjects: History of English. 48 words.

To hesitate or act in an undecided, irresolute way. The word is an alteration of ‘shill I shall I’, a

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shilly-shally

in New Oxford Rhyming Dictionary

January 2012; p ublished online May 2013 .

Reference Entry. Subjects: Language Reference. 101 words.

Ali, alley, Allie, Ally, bally, dally, dilly-dally, farfalle, galley, Halley, mallee, Mexicali, pally, Raleigh, rally, reveille, sally, tally,

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shilly-shally

in Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes

January 2007; p ublished online January 2007 .

Reference Entry. Subjects: Language Reference. 101 words.

Ali, alley, Allie, Ally, bally, dally, dilly-dally, farfalle, galley, Halley, mallee, Mexicali, pally, Raleigh, rally, reveille, sally, tally,

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shilly-shally

Julia Cresswell.

in The Oxford Dictionary of Word Origins

January 2009; p ublished online January 2010 .

Reference Entry. Subjects: History of English. 65 words.

[M18th]

People unable to make up their minds whether to do something are likely to ask themselves ‘Shall I?’ repeatedly.

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‘Charles Reade and Shilly-Shally’

in Oxford Reader's Companion to Trollope

January 1999; p ublished online January 2011 .

Reference Entry. Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century). 112 words.

1. My friend the author Charles Reade has announced he is producing a play, shilly-shally, adapted from my novel

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Dilly-dally, To

Edited by Susie Dent.

in Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable

January 2012; p ublished online January 2013 .

Reference Entry. Subjects: History of English. 71 words.

To dawdle; to vacillate. The word is a jingle on ‘dally’. A verb of similar meaning is shilly-shally. See

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