"Quit _________ , and get to the point!"

None of these seem quite right, although any of them would suffice:

  • Dawdling
  • Dilly-dallying
  • Delaying
  • Prolonging
  • Protracting

I think I'm looking for a word that's specifically concerned with relating an event in conversation. Or maybe I've forgotten a word that never existed in the first place. I do that sometimes.

  • Hi justnoah, welcome to EL&U and good luck with your first question! Don't forget to take the EL&U Tour :-) Dec 28, 2018 at 12:25
  • The title of your question is at odds with the body of your question. Drawing out a story for dramatic effect is often a good thing—it makes it interesting and engages the listener. On the other hand, talking on at length in such as way as to make the listener annoyed is a bad thing. It's not clear which you mean. (Although I suspect you need to change the title of your question.) But what do you mean by at length? Repeating the same thing over and over again—or talking endlessly about different things? Is there really an active sense of delay on the part of the speaker? Dec 28, 2018 at 16:04
  • (What's wrong with any or all of the words you mention in your question? Without knowing why you don't like them, we can't guess what you might be trying to think of.) Dec 28, 2018 at 16:06
  • Thanks @Chappo, didn't mean to break the rules, mainly because I wasn't aware of them in the first place. Can't use that excuse again, haha. I appreciate the heads up.
    – justnoah.
    Dec 30, 2018 at 6:55
  • 1
    How about ''embellishing''? Dec 31, 2018 at 4:37

3 Answers 3


Two which leap readily to mind are "shilly-shallying" and the more writerly "burying the lede".

In the context of newspaper and magazine authorship of days gone by, we referred to the practise of adding too much fluff or exposition or description prior to the solid content of the lede (the enticing bit of the introductory paragraph designed to get readers to want to read further) as "burying the lede": people use this phrasing in conversation to refer pejoratively to those who (like me) tend to obfuscate, circumloquate and hide the main point of a narrative so deep in the verbal shrubbery that the listener becomes frustrated and feels a need to exclaim, in essence: "Get ON with the story!"

  • 1
    I always thought that was 'burying the lead'. Thanks for the clarification.
    – user150753
    Dec 28, 2018 at 20:02
  • 1
    I was looking for a single word, but burying the lede is basically it. I don't mind verbal shrubbery as long as it's thoughtfully arranged.
    – justnoah.
    Dec 30, 2018 at 7:19
  • As far as I'm concerned, "burying the lead" is and remains the correct spelling. M-W is the only reputable dictionary that has an entry for lede; Oxford, American Heritage Dictionary, Collins, Macmillan, Cambridge and Webster's New World College Dictionary do not. Dec 31, 2018 at 4:55
  • Oxford Dictionary of English, Oxford University Press, 2010, 2017: lede - noun - US the opening sentence or paragraph of a news article, summarizing the most important aspects of the story: the lede has been rewritten and the headline changed. Phrases: bury the lede - US fail to emphasize the most important part of a story or account: one should always listen carefully to the president, as he has a tendency to bury the lede. Dec 31, 2018 at 16:02
  • American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: noun - The introductory portion of a news story, especially the first sentence. [Obsolete spelling of LEAD, revived in modern journalism to distinguish the word from its homograph LEAD, strip of metal separating lines of type.] ahdictionary.com/word/search.html?q=lede Dec 31, 2018 at 16:05

You could use the verb digress, which Merriam Webster describes as:

to turn aside especially from the main subject of attention or course of argument

But the tone of your sample sentence doesn't really fit with the rather formal word, 'digress'. I can't imagine anyone saying 'Quit digressing, and get to the point!'.

You might prefer to ramble - defined as:

proceeding without a specific goal, purpose, or direction: such as ... straying from subject to subject

That would definitely fit in with the casual tone your sentence uses: 'Quit rambling, and get to the point'.

  • While rambling does fit the slot, I was thinking of a term that indicated intentional delay. But I appreciate you.
    – justnoah.
    Jan 1, 2019 at 12:14

"Quit dallying , and get to the point!"

to dally TFD

To dawdle, delay, or linger; to waste time

And as in:

“Come now, no more dallying,” he said, though more gently. Ophelia

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