In other languages that I know there are verbs which describe the action of becoming late. They are more commonly used than adjective form that is used in English.

"To be late". Here "late" is adjective describing the state of someone.

Is there a verb meaning the same thing, (something in the form of "I lated to the class")?

  • there is the somewhat dated term "dallied" . It's been picking up more humorous meanings over time...it suggests more of a trivial use of time making you late generally. – Tom22 May 26 '17 at 21:47
  • There is also dawdle which means to "Waste time; be slow." But that doesn't necessarily imply to become late. My kids tend to dawdle in the morning when getting ready for school, but getting there 20 minutes before the bell is only late in my wife's eyes. – Roger Sinasohn May 26 '17 at 22:34
  • There is no common verb used for this. (As answerers and commenters suggest, there are more precise verbs that can describe the way in which you became late.) – ben May 26 '17 at 23:00
  • English doesn’t have all that many verbs that encapsulate be predicates: to be late, to be angry, to be young, to be jealous, to be in luck, to be in season, to be balding, to be mistaken, to be quick, to be dead. Some you can find decent verbs for, but not many and not often. – tchrist May 29 '17 at 0:05

If you're looking for something shorter than "be late", you may be out of luck. But it is of course possible to run behind schedule


to arrive and/or leave later than the time that is expected

  • 1
    Run does not mean to be late. – tchrist May 28 '17 at 23:55

"Tardy" apparently has an obsolete verb-form. But I don't know of a contemporary word that has replaced it.

  • "to tardy" required a direct object and it meant To make tardy; to delay, retard, keep back (OED). – green_ideas May 26 '17 at 23:01
  • "I tardied myself." – Evan May 27 '17 at 1:36
  • Evan is right, I don't know where the downvote comes from. It clearly says on the wiktionary page that tardy is also a verb, although nearly never used, because it's obsolete. – KKZiomek May 27 '17 at 14:23
  • The Polish verb (się spóźnić) is also reflexive, so I'll buy tardy oneself for English, obsolete or not. But Evan should put that reflexivity in the answer, because that makes it address the question. – Spencer May 27 '17 at 16:37
  • @Spencer I'm not here to mess around with grammar. – Evan May 28 '17 at 1:00

Delay might work, as in "I delayed going to the class" or "I was delayed in getting to the class."




  1. Make (someone or something) late or slow.
    ‘the train was delayed’

    1.1 no object Be late or slow; loiter.
    ‘time being of the essence, they delayed no longer’

    1.2 Postpone or defer (an action)
    ‘he may decide to delay the next cut in interest rates’


to be tardy

  1. late, overdue, unpunctual, belated, dilatory, behindhand He was as tardy as ever for our appointment.



I was tardy to the class

I was tardy to school

  • That does not answer the question. The only verb there is be; tardy is no more part of the verb than late is. – tchrist May 28 '17 at 23:54
  • @tchrist - I checked to make sure OP hadn't asked for a single word. – aparente001 May 29 '17 at 2:33
  • Y veo que tardaste bastante en hacerlo. That's the kind of verb we need here. ;-) – tchrist May 29 '17 at 2:35
  • @tchrist - Well, I guess there's always tarry. – aparente001 May 29 '17 at 2:44

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.