shilly-shally

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shil·ly-shal·ly / ˈshilē ˌshalē/ • v. (-lies, -lied) [intr.] fail to act resolutely or decisively: the government shilly-shallied about the matter. • n. indecisive behavior. DERIVATIVES: shil·ly-shal·ly·er / ˌshalēər/ (also -shal·li·er) n.

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shilly-shallyAli, alley, Allie, Ally, bally, dally, dilly-dally, farfalle, galley, Halley, mallee, Mexicali, pally, Raleigh, rally, reveille, sally, tally, valley •Chablis • brambly •badly, Bradley, Hadlee, madly, sadly •scraggly •dangly, gangly •crackly • Shankly • Bramley •Manley, manly, Osmanli, Stanley •slatternly •Langley, tangly •amply • Ashley •Attlee, fatly, patly •aptly • shilly-shally •Bali, barley, Cali, Carly, Charlie, Dali, Diwali, finale, gnarly, Gurkhali, Kali, Kigali, Mali, Marley, marly, Pali, parley, snarly, Somali, Svengali, tamale •Barclay, Berkeley, clerkly, sparkly •Darnley • ghastly • Hartley • Barnsley •blackguardly

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

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shilly-shally phr. stand or go shill I, shall I vacillate, be irresolute XVII; adj. vacillating; sb. vacillation XVIII. f. shall I, with variation of vowel.