What is lallygagging? Where did this phrase come from?

9 Answers

  • Pronunciation: [‘lah-li-gæg]

    Definition: (Humorous slang) To dawdle, usually holding someone up or delaying some other action; to neck or pet deceptively.

    Usage: The activity is “lollygagging” with two [g]s before the suffix, no matter what your spellcheck says, and someone who dawdles is a “lollygagger.”

    Suggested Usage: Today’s word is clearly slang and should be avoided in formal speech and writing. However, in informal situations it may work when a bit of humor is called for: “Raphael, stop lollygagging and get in the car. You can pick your nose on the road!” In Britain, of course, where “lolly” is a piece of hard candy (lollipop) and “gag” also means “choke,” this Americanism might evoke less laughter.

    Etymology: A playful semi-compound based on loll “waste time” + gag “deceive, fool.” According to the Oxford English Dictionary, The Northern Vindicator of Estherville, Iowa in 1868 referred to “The lascivious lolly-gagging lumps of licentiousness who disgrace the common decencies of life….” In the 40s and 50s it took on the meaning “necking,” which was usually carried out deceptively. Ellery Queen wrote in 1965 of “lallygagging around under the awning away from the gassy streets” but by that time the intimate connotation of the word had mostly worn off. (Well, enough literary lollygagging over this wonderful, purely American word from Lori Crawford, though we are grateful for it.)

  • Lollygagging Definition

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    What is lallygagging? Where did this phrase come from?

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    No, it is not a biblical phrase. It is a modern invention of rather simplistic evangelical thinking that gives the false impression that you just need to repeat a set prayer and that’s you, a Christian. The Bible emphasises the fellowship of believers, all being part of the Church which is the spiritual body of Christ – His bride, for whom He died. Nobody can be a Christian in isolation. We are called to be members of the Church, all playing our part in supporting our brothers and sisters. It is the Church that testifies to her risen Lord and the Lord promised that the gates of Hades would not overcome the Church. To come to Christ is to come into fellowship with the Saints – all believers, the world over. If we love our Lord, we will love His Church!

  • The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000.

    lollygag

    SYLLABICATION: lol·ly·gag

    VARIANT FORMS: also lal·ly·gag (ll-)

    INTRANSITIVE VERB: Inflected forms: lol·ly·gagged, lol·ly·gag·ging, lol·ly·gags

    To waste time by puttering aimlessly; dawdle.

    ETYMOLOGY: Origin unknown.

  • Lallygag

  • Lollygagging, its a very old term, most have reference to the Irish, but a specific time is not available. It means to just be lazily moving around, most of the time to avoid doing work or something like that.

  • Dear Word Detective: The other day my mother said we should all stop “lollygagging” around and get in the car to go shopping. Where did that expression come from? It conjures up visions of an all-day sucker gone too far into one’s throat. But in context it means “taking too much time.” — Miss Dee, via the internet.

    (…) Unfortunately, the origin of “lollygag” is unknown, but there are clues from which we may, perhaps, be able to extrapolate the roots of “lollygag.” (“Extrapolate” in this context, by the way, is a fancy word for “guess.”)

    First up in the batting order of possible “lollygag” clues is “loll,” which is a very old word originally meaning “to droop or dangle.” We use “loll” today to mean to relax or pass time idly, the sort of behavior that vacations are designed to encourage. There seems to be a plausible connection between this “utterly relaxed” meaning of “loll” and the “wasting time” sense of “lollygag.” Another bit of evidence might be found in the fact that “to loll” also means to let your tongue hang out, and that “lolly” is an English slang term for tongue (quite possibly the source of the name of our friend the lollipop, by the way). Perhaps “lollygagging” arose from the perception that lazy lollygaggers were adept at exercising only one muscle — their tongues.

  • It’s “lollygagging,” and the definition is to “be about.” It is usually meant as to waste time or to putter around. onelook.com is a great reference.

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