This exchange occurs in Terry Pratchett‘s I Shall Wear Midnight (paperback page 398):

‘Lollygagging again, as usual, Lance Private Preston?’

Preston saluted smartly, ‘You are correct in your surmise, Sergeant; you have voiced an absolute truth.’

This is technically correct; Preston is having an informal chat with the protagonist, Tiffany Aching. However, something tells me Pratchett wasn’t just referring to the common definition (‘To dawdle; to be lazy or idle; to avoid necessary work or effort.’), but I can’t seem to find a more extensive definition or etymology online.

  • What connotation of the term are you looking for? – user66974 Nov 23 '15 at 13:10
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    Your own link points out that the origin is uncertain, and I see no reason to suppose that Pratchett was using the word in anything other that the normal sense (I don't know any other meaning). So what exactly are you asking here? – FumbleFingers Nov 23 '15 at 13:14

To lollygag: means what you have mentioned in your question. Possible extensions of the meaning may be just personal, context specific ones. However, as suggested below by World Wide Web, the expression used to have also a 'romantic' connotation, which you are probably referring to:

  • 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, from World Wide Word:

  • Its main meaning today is of purposeless activity, of fooling around, spending time aimlessly or dawdling or dallying.

    • The latest string of deals has shown that, even in the absence of a mouth-watering mega takeover, Mr Buffett is not one to lollygag around for too long. Financial Times, 24 Jan. 2008.
  • Many American veterans will remember it, since it is part of the standard repertoire of insults used by NCOs to verbally chastise new recruits — in this case to accuse them of fooling around or wasting time. To American civilians, however, it sometimes has a subsidiary meaning of “to indulge in kisses and caresses”. This sense featured in a memorandum by the commandant of the St Alban's Naval Hospital in New York just after the end of the Second World War:

    • “Male and female personnel should only be together when conducting hospital business, and this should be in an orderly manner. Lovemaking and lolly-gagging is hereby strictly forbidden.” The expression “lolly-gagging” is a new one, even to most New Yorkers ... but the Thesaurus of American slang describes it as “A young man who lingers to spoon in a hallway after bringing his inamorata home.” Truth (Sydney, Australia), 6 Jan. 1946.
  • It first appeared in the US about the middle of the nineteenth century. A wonderful sentence in an Iowan newspaper, the Northern Vindicator, in 1868 suggests that a lovemaking implication was around even in its early days: “The lascivious lolly-gagging lumps of licentiousness who disgrace the common decencies of life by their love-sick fawnings at our public dances”.

  • Jonathon Green, in his Cassell Dictionary of Slang, suggests it may come from a dialect word lolly, meaning “tongue”. If it is, then it’s a close relative of lollipop, which is also thought to come from the same source. Another spelling of the word is lallygag.

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