From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishdelayde‧lay1 /dɪˈleɪ/ ●●○W3 noun1[countable]DELAY when someone or something has to wait, or the length of the waiting timeSorry for the delay, Mr Weaver.delay inWhy was there a delay in warning the public?delay ofa delay of about an hourlong/considerable/slight etc delayLong delays are expected on the motorways.2[uncountable]DELAY when something does not happen or start when it should dowithout delayThey 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 Corpus
delay• 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 issuingpassports.• Any delay in the productionprocess 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 CommunityHealthCouncilyesterdaydiscussed the problem of delays in reachingpatients who live in the more remote areas of Teesdale.• This is done by deliberately puttingdelays into the circuitry.• There is a seven-second delay between transmission of the radiosignal 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 NuclearElectric were making light of the delay and praised the way the mockemergency was being handled.delay of• Delays of two hours or more are not uncommon.without delay• The crew and passengers were keen to get airbornewithout further delay.• If you lose your passport, you should contact the embassywithout delay.• You need to get those vegetablesplantedwithout delay.delaydelay2 ●●○W3 verb1[intransitive, transitive]POSTPONE/DO LATER to wait until a later time to do somethingDon’t delay – send off for the information now.He delayed his decision on whether to call an election.delay something until somethingThe opening of this section of the road is delayed until September.delay something for somethingOur meeting was delayed for ten minutes.delay doing somethingBig companies often delay paying their bills.2[transitive]DELAY to make someone or something lateseriously/badly/slightly etc delayedThe 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 usualphrase 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