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  1. beachboy's Avatar
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    #1

    taking long

    What's the difference between "to drag one's feet", "to string along", "to jerk sb around", and "to waffle"? Are they ever interchangeble? When a husband is late for dinner, the wife asks him why, and he speaks hesitantly, trying to gain time and get away with it, which one suits best? Thanks in advance


    • Join Date: Nov 2007
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    #2

    Re: taking long

    None of them.
    He is stalling for time (especially if he is saying little except hemming and hawing)
    Perhaps "hedging" or 'evasive' if he is speaking without saying anything definite, but this usually means he is not going to give any kind of straight answer.
    Perhaps 'dodge the question'.
    The same meaning, but in terms of not getting on and taking action, would be 'pussyfooting around'.
    Last edited by David L.; 14-Jan-2008 at 16:28.

  2. beachboy's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: taking long

    Thanks, David. But in what situation should I use "to waffle"? And what synonym could I also use?


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    #4

    Re: taking long

    "To waffle" describes speaking at length and without purpose, in a trivial manner.

    He waffled on for hours about his holiday.

    Do stop waffling and get to the point!

    You could use
    vacillate.

    As to the husband, you could also say "he was equivocating". Equivocate = using ambiguous or evasive language.

  3. beachboy's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: taking long

    Would I be too hasty if I concluded that, when a person waffles, the narration is boring to death?

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    #6

    Re: taking long

    Waffling means to be evasive, not direct. If you asked a politician about his opinion of the war in Iraq, and he told you a fascinating story about his experiences in Viet Nam, he would be waffling, but not boring.

    I would describe the behavior of the husband late for dinner in your example and the politician in my example as jerking [their audience] around. Be careful, this expression is colloquial, and not suitable for formal speech or writing.

    To drag one's feet means to cause unnecessary delays. To string someone along means to mislead them for selfish purposes.

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