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Molly O'Neill Agent Spotlight Interview on 1/22/18
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Word of the Day

Here's a fun word that I rather like. Might even be able to use this one eventually. I've never heard anyone use it in Cali though. I'm curious if it's a common word (phrase?) elsewhere.

: "in an irresolute, undecided, or hesitating manner."

Essentially, it means to procrastinate...

If you're a geek like me and interested in word origins, here's what the Etymology Dictionary has to say on it:

"Vacillate," 1703, earlier shill I, shall I (1700), fanciful reduplication of shall I? (cf. wishy-washy, dilly-dally, etc.)."

Wishy-washy and dilly-dally are much more common around here!


  1. Yeah, I was going to say it's like a cross between "wishy washy" and "dilly dally."

  2. It's quite common in Britain, particularly with more mature folk. You would use it thus - when walking with a child, "Come on, don't shilly-shally!" Or, less often, if someone wasn't getting to the point, "Come on, spit it out. Don't shilly-shally around."

    I still occcasionally use it, but resist it in Canada. They'd probably think I'm even stranger than I am.

  3. So did dilly-dally come from shilly-shally???
    Fun word! And how is Magyk? I'm wondering if I should read it this year.

  4. Ooo thank you Fran! I love learning about these sorts of things.

    I take it you're from Britain? How did you end up in Canada?

  5. PJ - This is my second time trying to read Magyk. I put it down about half way through the first time and I'm finally getting back to it (started it over.)

    I'm enjoying it more this time. I think I must have not been in the mood for it before. The omniscient POV gets a little tiring - it's like she tries to follow all the characters all the time.

    Heather recently read it and liked it too, but she was annoyed by the head hopping as well.

    It's fun though!