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daw‧dle /ˈdɔːdl $ ˈdɒː-/ verb [intransitive] to take a long time to do something or walk somewhere:

Don’t dawdle – we’re late already!

dawdle over

I dawdled over a second cup of coffee.

Is "dawdle" a friendly word in everyday conversation or do we have a simpler one?

For example, "don't dawdle along the way and please don't talk to strangers!" or "don't hang about/around along the way and please don't talk to strangers!"?

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    Dawdle is fine in this context. Dec 23, 2020 at 9:27
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    My mother said "Don't dawdle!" a lot when I was small. Dec 23, 2020 at 9:46

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'Dawdle' is definitely not an 'unfriendly' word in that it is used informally, often by parents to children. It is not really a 'positive' word though, as the inference is that time is being wasted, so it is probably less common to hear it said about oneself. However, it works fine - an example in the free dictionary "dawdled through breakfast" is very similar to your example.

A far more common expression in this context would be "I lingered over...". See this ngram for a comparison between similar expressions.

That said, if this is creative writing then it is often better to go with a choice of word or expression that is less common, so long as it works, and I'm fine with it.

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It is typical of the phrase "don't dawdle" as spoken by parents to their children. So it is fine in that context.

It is somewhat rarer to use in a positive command, eg "dawdle over".

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