In Spanish, the literal translation of "to procrastinate" is "procrastinar":

Del lat. procrastināre.

  1. tr. Diferir, aplazar.

But I've always found its spelling and pronunciation to be too far away of current Spanish. This word sounds to me very archaic and strange and kind of foreign even. So i'd like to find a different word to express the same concept.

Moreover, I don't think the DLE definition of "procrastinar" matches the actual use of the verb in English. Most of the time, when we say somebody is procrastinating, we mean that they are avoiding to do something out of laziness or lack of confidence. Just postponing something is not procrastinating.

  • Example: if I have to study for my finals but I decide to browse Spanish.SE instead, that's procrastinating. But if I postpone a meeting because I have something else to do, that's not procrastinating, that's just rescheduling.

Then I remembered that Spanish has a word with a meaning quite close to that:


  1. intr. Rehusar moverse, detenerse en hacer o admitir algo, por flojedad y pereza. U. t. c. prnl.

So "remolonear" can be understood as "refusing to do something out of laziness". I think that is closer to the current use of "to procrastinate".

Is "remolonear" (or can it be) used in the same sense as "to procrastinate"?
Would people understand that I was procrastinating if I said "Tenia que estudiar pero estuve remoloneando"?

If you don't think it is, what other word would be?

  • 2
    Yo entiendo que si no haces algo porque "estabas remoloneando", dejaste de hacer esa cosa pero a cambio... no hiciste nada. Es decir, nada que implique el más mínimo esfuerzo físico o mental. Se podría considerar que remoloneas si te quedas viendo la tele, o si navegas por Spanish Language en modo read-only. En cambio, si en vez de tu tarea juegas a videojuegos, o participas en el sitio activamente, o sales a correr, algo que más que pereza denote que prefieres dedicarte a otra cosa, tal vez eso no sea remolonear sino procrastinar. En todo caso esto es solo una opinión.
    – Charlie
    Commented Oct 18, 2017 at 10:08
  • 1
    Ya que ha salido el tema con la pregunta de zas y zasca ¿que tal "zascandilear"?
    – user14069
    Commented Oct 18, 2017 at 10:12
  • 2
    @Charlie buen punto ese. Remolonear yo también lo asocio a "no hacer nada", mientras que procrastinar tiene la connotación de "hacer otras cosas más apetecibles para no hacer otra que es más importante".
    – fedorqui
    Commented Oct 18, 2017 at 10:34
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    Here in Argentina we'd use "remolonear" only for "snoozing" (sleeping or staying in bed a little longer). For "procrastinating", we'd probably use "dilatar" with some generic object like "la cosa" or "la cuestión".
    – Gustavson
    Commented Oct 19, 2017 at 23:18
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    I'm from Mexico and I've never heard the word "remolonear". When I hear "procrastinar" I immediately associate it with the same meaning as "to procrastinate", probably because I first learned the word in English.
    – Arzaquel
    Commented Oct 25, 2017 at 23:02

2 Answers 2


Remolonear is a word more common than procrastinar, even though procrastinar is quite more specific in this case. When you "procrastinas" you are delaying doing something for a long time (that common sentence we all have said: "Nah, I'll do it tomorrow"). Remolonear can be used in the same way, but is more correct to use it in a shorter period of time. For example, when you are up in the morning and you don't want to stand up from the bed, you are "remoloneando"

But if you are asking for the most common word, most people will understand remolonear better than procrastinar. Procrastinar is a culturized form of saying it, and not all people will understand that (sadly I think).


"Procrastinar" should be the better option, "remolonear" comes from the distortion and conjugation of other words.

The root of "remolonear" is "remorar", a word that comes from latin that means "to delay", while "procrastinar" comes directly from the latin "procrastinare" and it means "to postpone".

now, as said in the previous answer "remolonear" is used in specific when a person is being lazy , while "procrastinar" is the general act of delaying.

about the usage: "procrastinar" is not a really popular word, you'll ratter said "lo esta demorando" instead, or other explanations instead of the word "procrastinar",

in this case, if you want to translate "procrastinate" to Spanish, you'll normally translate it to "procrastinar" unless you want to specify that he is procrastinating because he is lazy, then you'll say "remolonear".

but for a more common speech translation, you would describe "procrastinate" instead of trying to translate it.

  • 3
    I don't agree that being closer to latin is a good criterion for deciding whether a word is better or worse.
    – Gorpik
    Commented Nov 23, 2017 at 7:47
  • @Gorpik Spanish is a language that came directly from Latin and Arabic languages, in cases like this, the usage falls down on the region rather than the origin, yet, when we try to achieve the purest way for communication we make our selection of words based the ones that have the closest approach to the base meaning. why ?: international communication.
    – Mike
    Commented Nov 24, 2017 at 17:16

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