lollygag (variants: or less commonly) lallygag –
(intransitive verb) (informal) to fool around and waste time : DAWDLE
Stop lollygagging and get to work.
We were slow because the girl was lollygagging, the photographer was photographing, and I was on crutches.
— James Robison
The first author he'd chosen was lollygagging on his manuscript, so it was my chance.
— Neal Pollack
… rally the team of lallygagging lawmakers …
— The Hightower Lowdown ...
Did You Know?
You certainly didn't want to be known as a lollygagger at the beginning of the 20th century. Back then, lollygag was slang for "fooling around" (sexually, that is). That sense of lollygag was in use as long ago as 1868, and it probably originated as an alteration of the older (and more dawdlingly innocent) lallygag. Nowadays, lollygag doesn't usually carry such naughty connotations, but back in 1946, one Navy captain considered lollygagging enough of a problem to issue this stern warning: "Lovemaking and lollygagging are hereby strictly forbidden.... The holding of hands, osculation and constant embracing of WAVES [Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service], corpsmen or civilians and sailors or any combination of male and female personnel is a violation of naval discipline...."
lollygag (also:) lallygag – To waste time by puttering aimlessly; dawdle.
lollygag (also lallygag) – (intransitive verb) 1. (North American informal) Spend time aimlessly; idle. ...
1.1 Dawdle ...
lollygag – to waste time doing unimportant things.
lollygag – To lollygag is to be slow or idle or lazy.
You might say to your dawdling friends, "Don't lollygag! We'll miss our bus!"
You lollygag when you take you own sweet time walking to your piano teacher's house, and you also lollygag when you lounge lazily in a hammock under a tree. The word lollygag is an American invention, a slang term that's sometimes spelled lallygag and may stem from the dialectical "tongue" meaning of lolly. ...
lollygag – loaf about and waste time; dawdle
The actual origin of the term lollygag is unknown, although many sources trace it back to mid-19th century America. Some sources also provide an alternative spelling of lallygag, although this doesn't exactly help establish the word's historical origins, either. To lollygag means to fool around or dawdle, primarily to avoid actual work or to start other unappealing activities.
Children trying to avoid going to school may lollygag by eating their breakfast in dribs and drabs, or else spend an inordinate amount of time getting dressed or grooming. Some may waste time by watching television instead of dressing or playing a video game instead of finishing homework. The point of effective lollygagging is to waste as much time as possible without the appearance of obvious laziness.
Some people prefer to lollygag in their favorite stores at the local shopping mall, meandering through the aisles at a leisurely pace instead of going directly to the original destination. While taking one's time while shopping may be perfectly acceptable, accusations of lollygagging or dilly-dallying often appear when time is an issue. By definition, lollygagging is a deliberate effort to delay work or finish a project, much like goldbricking in an office environment.
The origins of lollygagging may have something to do with the word loll, which generally means to lie passively or leisurely around the premises. It is possible that "lolling around" became corrupted into "lolly" first, and then attached to the archaic word "gag" to indicate the habits of lazy sheep lying around a field. To lollygag may have originally meant to sit passively while others performed chores.