Difference Wiki

Postpone vs. Delay: What's the Difference?

Edited by Sumera Saeed || By Sawaira Riaz || Updated on October 4, 2023
"Postpone" means to reschedule for a later time, while "Delay" means to cause to be later or behind schedule.

Key Differences

"Postpone" and "Delay" are terms that refer to a shift in timing, but they carry different connotations. "Postpone" primarily means to arrange for an event or action to take place at a later time than originally planned. "Delay," on the other hand, signifies a hindrance or obstruction that results in something not happening on time.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 04, 2023
When you "postpone" something, it often implies a deliberate choice, usually because of a reason or circumstance. For instance, a meeting can be postponed due to a key participant being unavailable. "Delay," however, suggests that the event or action will still occur but will start after the intended time, often due to unforeseen circumstances. A train might be delayed because of technical difficulties.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 04, 2023
Both "postpone" and "delay" can be used in various contexts, from events to tasks. However, when we "postpone" a task, it implies pushing the task to a later date intentionally. When we say a task is "delayed," it implies the task has taken longer than expected, but not necessarily because of a conscious decision to push it back.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 04, 2023
It's worth noting that while "postpone" generally requires a decision-making entity, "delay" can occur because of uncontrollable factors. For instance, an event organizer might postpone an event due to a forecast of bad weather, but a flight might be delayed because of that unexpected bad weather.
Janet White
Oct 04, 2023

Comparison Chart

Meaning

Reschedule for a later time.
Cause to be later or behind schedule.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 04, 2023
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Intentionality

Often a deliberate choice.
May or may not be intentional.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 04, 2023

Usage

Used as a verb.
Can be both a noun and a verb.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 04, 2023

Connotation

Decision-based action.
Result of hindrance or obstruction.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 04, 2023

Agency

Requires a decision-making entity.
Can occur due to uncontrollable factors.
Sara Rehman
Oct 04, 2023

Postpone and Delay Definitions

Postpone

To reschedule for a later time.
We decided to postpone the meeting until next week.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 04, 2023
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Delay

To put off to a later time.
They had to delay their plans because of the storm.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 04, 2023

Postpone

To put off an event or action.
They chose to postpone their vacation due to work commitments.
Sara Rehman
Oct 04, 2023

Delay

A period of time by which something is late or postponed.
The flight's delay was due to technical issues.
Janet White
Oct 04, 2023

Postpone

To suspend or hold off an action.
It's not a good idea to postpone paying your bills.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 04, 2023

Delay

To cause to be behind schedule.
Traffic delays are common during rush hour.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 04, 2023

Postpone

To defer or delay deliberately.
The concert was postponed because of rain.
Sara Rehman
Oct 04, 2023

Delay

A hindrance or obstruction in doing something.
The project faced many delays before completion.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 04, 2023

Postpone

To cause or arrange for (an event) to take place at a time later than the time at which it was originally supposed to happen.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 25, 2022

Delay

An instance of being later than expected.
We apologize for the delay in responding to your query.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 04, 2023

Postpone

To delay or put off an event, appointment, etc.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 25, 2022

Delay

To postpone until a later time; defer.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 25, 2022

Postpone

(obsolete) To place after in order; to deem less important.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 25, 2022

Delay

To cause to be later or slower than expected or desired
Heavy traffic delayed us.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 25, 2022

Postpone

To defer to a future or later time; to put off; also, to cause to be deferred or put off; to delay; to adjourn; as, to postpone the consideration of a bill to the following day, or indefinitely.
His praise postponed, and never to be paid.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 25, 2022

Delay

To act or move slowly; put off an action or a decision.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 25, 2022

Postpone

To place after, behind, or below something, in respect to precedence, preference, value, or importance.
All other considerations should give way and be postponed to this.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 25, 2022

Delay

The act of delaying; postponement
Responded without delay.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 25, 2022

Postpone

Hold back to a later time;
Let's postpone the exam
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 25, 2022

Delay

The condition of being delayed; detainment.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 25, 2022

Postpone

To set a later date for an occurrence.
The organizers postponed the marathon due to health concerns.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 04, 2023

Delay

The period of time during which one is delayed.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 25, 2022

Delay

The interval of time between two events.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 25, 2022

Delay

A period of time before an event occurs; the act of delaying; procrastination; lingering inactivity.
The delay before the echo of a sound
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 25, 2022

Delay

(music) An audio effects unit that introduces a controlled delay.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 25, 2022

Delay

Synonym of promise
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 25, 2022

Delay

(chess) An amount of time provided on each move before one's clock starts to tick; a less common time control than increment.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 25, 2022

Delay

(ambitransitive) To put off until a later time; to defer.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 25, 2022

Delay

To retard; to stop, detain, or hinder, for a time.
The mail is delayed by a heavy fall of snow.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 25, 2022

Delay

To allay; to temper.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 25, 2022

Delay

(obsolete) To dilute, temper.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 25, 2022

Delay

(obsolete) To assuage, quench, allay.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 25, 2022

Delay

A putting off or deferring; procrastination; lingering inactivity; stop; detention; hindrance.
Without any delay, on the morrow I sat on the judgment seat.
The government ought to be settled without the delay of a day.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 25, 2022

Delay

To put off; to defer; to procrastinate; to prolong the time of or before.
My lord delayeth his coming.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 25, 2022

Delay

To retard; to stop, detain, or hinder, for a time; to retard the motion, or time of arrival, of; as, the mail is delayed by a heavy fall of snow.
Thyrsis! whose artful strains have oft delayedThe huddling brook to hear his madrigal.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 25, 2022

Delay

To allay; to temper.
The watery showers delay the raging wind.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 25, 2022

Delay

To move slowly; to stop for a time; to linger; to tarry.
There seem to be certain bounds to the quickness and slowness of the succession of those ideas, . . . beyond which they can neither delay nor hasten.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 25, 2022

Delay

Time during which some action is awaited;
Instant replay caused too long a delay
He ordered a hold in the action
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 25, 2022

Delay

The act of delaying; inactivity resulting in something being put off until a later time
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 25, 2022

Delay

Cause to be slowed down or delayed;
Traffic was delayed by the bad weather
She delayed the work that she didn't want to perform
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 25, 2022

Delay

Act later than planned, scheduled, or required;
Don't delay your application to graduate school or else it won't be considered
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 25, 2022

Delay

Stop or halt;
Please stay the bloodshed!
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 25, 2022

Delay

Slow the growth or development of;
The brain damage will retard the child's language development
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 25, 2022

FAQs

Can "delay" be both a noun and a verb?

Yes, "delay" can be used as a noun to denote a period of waiting and as a verb to mean causing something to be late.
Janet White
Oct 04, 2023

What does "postpone" mean?

"Postpone" means to reschedule an event or action for a later time.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 04, 2023

What does "delay" refer to?

"Delay" refers to a hindrance that results in something not happening on time.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 04, 2023

What's the opposite of "delay"?

The opposite of "delay" is to expedite or hasten.
Harlon Moss
Oct 04, 2023

What's the opposite of "postpone"?

The opposite of "postpone" is to advance or bring forward.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 04, 2023

Is "postponement" the noun form of "postpone"?

Yes, "postponement" refers to the act or instance of postponing.
Janet White
Oct 04, 2023

Can weather "postpone" an event?

Weather can be a reason to postpone an event, especially if safety or enjoyment may be compromised.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 04, 2023

Can "delay" mean the duration of waiting?

Yes, as a noun, "delay" can refer to the period of time by which something is late.
Janet White
Oct 04, 2023

Is "postpone" always a deliberate action?

While "postpone" often implies a deliberate choice, it can sometimes be due to unforeseen circumstances.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 04, 2023

Can we say "postpone a delay"?

It would be redundant. Instead, one might say "postpone to avoid a delay."
Sara Rehman
Oct 04, 2023

Can an event be both postponed and delayed?

Yes. An event can be postponed to another date and still face delays on that rescheduled date.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 04, 2023

Is a "delay" always negative?

Not always. While often seen as inconvenient, a delay can sometimes be beneficial or neutral.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 04, 2023

When should one use "postpone" instead of "delay"?

Use "postpone" when referring to intentionally rescheduling, and "delay" when something is behind schedule, often due to unforeseen reasons.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 04, 2023

Is "to put off" a synonym for "postpone"?

Yes, "to put off" can be synonymous with "postpone."
Aimie Carlson
Oct 04, 2023

Can machinery "delay" a process?

Yes, if machinery malfunctions or breaks down, it can delay a process.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 04, 2023

What's a synonym for "delay"?

A synonym for "delay" is "holdup."
Sara Rehman
Oct 04, 2023

Can you "postpone" a decision?

Yes, decisions can be postponed if more time is needed for consideration.
Janet White
Oct 04, 2023

Can a "delay" in a decision affect outcomes?

Yes, delays in decision-making can influence results, either positively or negatively.
Janet White
Oct 04, 2023

Can weather "delay" a flight?

Yes, bad weather conditions can delay flights.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 04, 2023

Is "postponed" the past tense of "postpone"?

Yes, "postponed" is the past tense of "postpone."
Aimie Carlson
Oct 04, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.
Edited by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.

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