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loiter

[loi-ter] /ˈlɔɪ tər/
verb (used without object)
1.
to linger aimlessly or as if aimless in or about a place:
to loiter around the bus terminal.
2.
to move in a slow, idle manner, making purposeless stops in the course of a trip, journey, errand, etc.:
to loiter on the way to work.
3.
to waste time or dawdle over work:
He loiters over his homework until one in the morning.
verb (used with object)
4.
to pass (time) in an idle or aimless manner (usually followed by away):
to loiter away the afternoon in daydreaming.
Origin of loiter
1300-1350
1300-50; Middle English loteren, loytren, perhaps < Middle Dutch loteren to stagger, totter; compare Dutch leuteren to dawdle
Related forms
loiterer, noun
loiteringly, adverb
Synonyms
1. Loiter, dally, dawdle, idle imply moving or acting slowly, stopping for unimportant reasons, and in general wasting time. To loiter is to linger aimlessly: to loiter outside a building. To dally is to loiter indecisively or to delay as if free from care or responsibility: to dally on the way home. To dawdle is to saunter, stopping often, and taking a great deal of time, or to fritter away time working in a halfhearted way: to dawdle over a task. To idle is to move slowly and aimlessly, or to spend a great deal of time doing nothing: to idle away the hours. 1–4. loaf. 2, 3. delay, tarry.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for loitered
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He loitered about in adjacent doorways, quite like a hired fellow.

    Ruggles of Red Gap Harry Leon Wilson
  • Dim ghosts of men and women, most of them, who loitered at this hour in these streets.

    A Son of Hagar

    Sir Hall Caine
  • Scarcely had they loitered through her lips, ere she was lost in slumber.

  • He loitered and whistled and hummed while the clerk phoned to the station.

    Mixed Faces Roy Norton
  • I came here partly by accident, and have loitered from choice.

    Sir Jasper Carew Charles James Lever
  • In this wise were my musings, as I loitered homeward and entered my quarters.

  • What should we gain, therefore, if we loitered in such company?

    The Bramleighs Of Bishop's Folly Charles James Lever
  • A girl sauntered past them as they loitered before their lockers.

    Miss Pat at School

    Pemberton Ginther
British Dictionary definitions for loitered

loiter

/ˈlɔɪtə/
verb
1.
(intransitive) to stand or act aimlessly or idly
Derived Forms
loiterer, noun
loitering, noun, adjective
Word Origin
C14: perhaps from Middle Dutch löteren to wobble: perhaps related to Old English lūtian to lurk
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for loitered

loiter

v.

early 15c., "idle one's time, dawdle over work," from Middle Dutch loteren "be loose or erratic, shake, totter" like a loose tooth or a sail in a storm; in modern Dutch, leuteren "to delay, linger, loiter over one's work." Probably cognate with Old English lutian "lurk," and related to Old English loddere "beggar;" Old High German lotar "empty, vain," luzen "lurk;" German Lotterbube "vagabond, rascal," lauschen "eavesdrop;" Gothic luton "mislead;" Old English lyðre "base, bad, wicked." Related: Loitered; loitering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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