November 27, 2016

Synonyms for “Delayed”

Are you guilty of using or overusing the following types of sentences? 

  • “Sorry for the delayed response.” 
  • “I missed the mail, hence the delay.” 
  • “The P.O. has been approved. It was because of the holiday [in Bangalore] that the payment got delayed.” 

The word ‘delay’ is commonly used in business communication in Kerala, India. To help you expand your vocabulary, let’s look at some synonyms for the word ‘delay’/’delayed.
Plain Word Exchanges for delay/delayed:

  • Late
  • Tardy
  • Belated


Idiomatic/Phrasal Verb Synonyms delay/delayed: 

  • Running behind
  • Backed up
  • Held up
  • Missed the boat
  • Last minute
  • Run out of time
  • On-time

Corporate Jargon that means delay/delayed:



What words/phrases can replace “delay” in this sentence?
“Sorry for the delayed response.”
We can replace any of the “plain words” for delayed without changing the sentence at all.

  • Sorry for the late response.
  • Sorry for the belated response.
  • Sorry for the tardy response.

Let’s look at this sentence, “I missed the mail, hence the delay.”
Unlike the previous sentence, we are unable to do a direct replacement. We can use some of the phrasal verbs or idioms as replacements for ‘delay,’ but only if we change the construction of the sentence.

  • “I’m sorry. Because I got held up the other day, I couldn’t respond earlier.”
  • “It looks like I missed the boat on responding to time to your email.” (This has a different tone than the initial meeting. I don’t suggest using this phrase in email. In spoken English, it may work better.)

Other sentences that are possible replacements:

  • “I missed the email, hence the late response.”
  • “I was swamped with work this week, hence I got backed up on responding to emails.”
  • “I was drowning in work this week, hence I ran out of time on responding to emails.”


Let’s look at the last sentence: “The P.O. has been approved. It was because of the holiday [in Bangalore] that the payment got delayed.”
Replacements/Rewrites could include:

  • While the P.O. has been approved, we were running behind on releasing the payment due to the holiday in Bangalore.
  • “The P.O. has been approved. Payments have been held up due to the holiday in Bangalore.”

The corporate jargon examples given; rolls in and MIA do not work as synonyms in the given example sentences. Let's look at common sentences that could use these phrases: 

  • "That Jennifer always rolls in about 9:45. We can start without her."
  • "Jennifer seems to be MIA today. I haven't heard from her. Let's get started." 

While both of the sentences do not have a good tone, each sentence does have a slightly different tone. The first sentence, which I hope an American client never says about your Indian offshore team has the undertone that, "We can't rely on Jennifer. She's always late. Probably Jennifer is not a good team member, and doesn't get things done on time. Most likely, even if Jennifer does do a good job, it doesn't mater, because she's always late for everything." Click here to read more about what it means to be late with Americans

The second sentence doesn't necessarily mean Jennifer is always late. She could be late only today. Normally, she is always on time with meetings and deadlines, sometimes she is even early. Normally, she even would give a heads up or a warning if she is going to be late. Today she is MIA (missing in action), but should be back in the loop soon. When someone is MIA, there may be small talk about the person before the meeting starts with a tone of concern. Of course, there could be a case where a person is always MIA. Then this sentence would have a much more ominous tone than the first. 

If you have any other suggestions on synonyms or replacements for the words delay or delayed, feel free to leave your feedback in the comments section below. Thank you for spending your time on this website!


Related: 
Holidays are not standardized across locations in India 
Idioms about time 
Slang vs. buzzwords vs. corporate/industry jargon 

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