From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishdelayde‧lay1 /dɪˈleɪ/ ●●○ W3 noun 1 [countable]DELAY when someone or something has to wait, or the length of the waiting time Sorry for the delay, Mr Weaver.delay in Why was there a delay in warning the public?delay of a delay of about an hourlong/considerable/slight etc delay Long delays are expected on the motorways.2 [uncountable]DELAY when something does not happen or start when it should dowithout delay They must restore normal services without delay. There can be no excuse for any further delay.COLLOCATIONSADJECTIVES/NOUN + delay a slight/short delayThere was a slight delay in the departure of the plane.a long/lengthy delayPatients often face long delays in getting the treatment they need.a considerable/serious delay (=very long)After a considerable delay, the report was finally published.a 20-minute/6-month/4-week etc delayA train had broken down, causing a two-hour delay.traffic delaysThe roadworks are likely to cause serious traffic delays.flight delaysUnfortunately flight delays do sometimes occur.verbscause/lead to a delayThe bad weather caused a three-hour delay in sending out rescue helicopters.experience delaysPeople are experiencing considerable delays in receiving their mail.face delays (=be likely to experience them)Commuters face long delays as a result of the rail strikes.reduce delays (=make them shorter and less frequent)The new rules should reduce delays in bringing prisoners to trial.phrasesa series of delays (=a number of delays)After a series of delays and setbacks, the project was finally approved.
Examples from the Corpusdelay• We went to the court and asked for a delay to continue preparing our defense.• There have been a lot of complaints about delays in issuing passports.• Any delay in the production process is costly to a company.• The strike is causing long delays at the airport• After three months' delay, work finally began on the new building.• Darlington Community Health Council yesterday discussed the problem of delays in reaching patients who live in the more remote areas of Teesdale.• This is done by deliberately putting delays into the circuitry.• There is a seven-second delay between transmission of the radio signal and when it can be heard on computer.• Well, he'd see to that presently, after he'd explained the delay.• Cleveland Police have apologised to 73-year-old Bessie Marron for the delay.• The reason for the delay became apparent in Angell and Pownall's report.• Voice over Nuclear Electric were making light of the delay and praised the way the mock emergency was being handled.delay of• Delays of two hours or more are not uncommon.without delay• The crew and passengers were keen to get airborne without further delay.• If you lose your passport, you should contact the embassy without delay.• You need to get those vegetables planted without delay.delaydelay2 ●●○ W3 verb 1 [intransitive, transitive]POSTPONE/DO LATER to wait until a later time to do something Don’t delay – send off for the information now. He delayed his decision on whether to call an election.delay something until something The opening of this section of the road is delayed until September.delay something for something Our meeting was delayed for ten minutes.delay doing something Big companies often delay paying their bills.2 [transitive]DELAY to make someone or something lateseriously/badly/slightly etc delayed The flight was badly delayed because of fog. —delayed adjectiveTHESAURUSdelay to wait until a later time to do somethingHe decided to delay his decision until he had seen the full report.postpone to change an event to a later time or dateThe meeting was postponed.put off to delay doing something. Put off is less formal than delay or postpone, and is the usual phrase to use in everyday EnglishI used to put off making difficult decisions.The game has been put off till next week.hold off to delay doing something, especially while you are waiting for more information or for something else to happenHouse buyers seem to be holding off until interest rates drop.defer formal to delay doing something until a later date, usually because something else needs to happen firstThe decision had been deferred until after a meeting of the directors.She decided to defer her university application for a year so that she could go travelling.procrastinate /prəˈkræstəneɪt/ formal to delay doing something that you ought to doDon’t procrastinate – make a start on your assignments as soon as you get them. → See Verb table
Examples from the Corpusdelay• Rodman had been waiting to sign the contract because of pneumonia that forced him to delay a team physical.• We cannot delay any longer.• The President's visit had to be delayed because of security problems.• Our flight was delayed by bad weather.• The plane's departure was delayed by mechanical problems.• The opening of the new bridge may be delayed for several months.• He decided to delay his departure until after he'd seen the Director.• Mr MacGregor said that he would delay introducing the scheme because of the demands made on teachers by other educational reforms.• The police delayed making any announcement until the girl's relatives had been contacted.• Present value: If you delay paying a bill, you can earn interest on the money in the meantime.• This latest terrorist attack is bound to delay the peace talks even further.• Since that time bureaucratic foot-dragging and dare it be said? politics have continued to delay the project.• Full implementation was delayed until after the Companies Act 1989 had come into effect.delayed ... decision• But what did matter was the effect of a delayed decision on his schedule.• What is particularly interesting is that the report implies that it was MI5 who endlessly delayed any decision rather than the prison authorities.• If Wieben Stock had believed otherwise, she could have delayed her decision until after the trial, attorneys pointed out.seriously/badly/slightly etc delayed• Barring another honourable war, that may yet be Grumman's fate - if slightly delayed.• If the walk was to take place, it could not be seriously delayed.• By establishing a paradigm for psychological investigation that lasted for some forty years, behaviourists seriously delayed the understanding of human cognition.Origin delay2 (1200-1300) Old French delaier, from laier “to leave”