General Science

  • noun a situation when something happens later than planned


  • noun a period after the expected time that you have to wait before something happens, the length of time by which something is late
  • verb to make late, to cause to be late
  • verb to put something off until later


  • noun the time when someone or something is later than planned
  • verb to make someone or something late


  • An event or condition that results in work activity starting, or the project being completed, later than originally planned.


  • The time interval between two events.
  • The time interval an event is postponed. Also, the act of postponing.
  • The time interval between the sending or emitting of a signal, and its reception or detection.
  • The time interval necessary for a signal to pass through a component, circuit, device, piece of equipment, system, or medium. This includes any additional time the signal is retarded, as with the use of a delay line.
  • The time interval between the instants at which a given point of a wave passes through two specified points of a transmission medium.
  • The time interval between the powering on of a component, circuit, device, piece of equipment, or system, and its starting to operate.

Information & Library Science

  • verb to cause something to happen later than planned


  • noun an act of arranging or causing an action to take place later than originally planned
  • noun an act of making someone late or slowing someone down
  • noun a period of time lost as a result of a delay
  • verb to arrange or cause an action to take place later than originally planned


  • noun the interval between the time at which something was planned to happen and the later time at which it actually happens

Origin & History of “delay”

English acquired delay from Old French delaier, a compound verb formed from the prefix de- ‘off’ and laier ‘leave’. this verb, which also crops up in English relay, appears to have been a variant of laissier (source of English lease), which came from Latin laxāre ‘slacken, undo’. This in turn was derived from the adjective laxus ‘loose’.