In Portuguese we have the verb "enrolar", which can be used to denote the act of postpone something, either by keeping silence about it or by giving excuses. It's used when someone is being negatively affected by the delay. Is there any equivalent in English?

  • One similar word is "to stall", but it doesn't seem to be as prejudicial as "enrolar"
    – Jader Dias
    Mar 31, 2014 at 15:37

2 Answers 2


drag one's feet = (also drag one's heels) be deliberately slow or reluctant to act

The government has dragged its heels over permanent legislation.

Or perhaps if the fact that you're presented with excuses is important:

demur = raise doubts or objections or show reluctance

Normally she would have accepted the challenge, but she demurred.

And a verb similar to "stall" :

hold up = cause to be slowed down or delayed

She held up the work that she didn't want to perform.

And as suggested by helix:

sit on = Fig. to hold someone or something back; to delay someone or something.

The project cannot be finished because the city council is sitting on the final approval.

All the above verbs can be used to blame someone else for a delay, but if what you want is to blame yourself, then a better choice would be:

procrastinate = postpone doing what one should be doing

I procrastinated about projects I was working on, afraid to release them for fear that they wouldn't be approved.

  • The idiom "sit on" also comes to mind.
    – Helix Quar
    Mar 31, 2014 at 16:08
  • How about adding "procrastinate"?
    – J.R.
    Mar 31, 2014 at 17:41
  • @J.R. Service with a smile! :)
    – Nico
    Mar 31, 2014 at 20:57

To hinder:

v. hin·dered, hin·der·ing, hin·ders

  1. To be or get in the way of.
  2. To obstruct or delay the progress of.

Collins Dictionary

This is the verb that comes to my mind.

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