Try Our Apps


What does the eggplant emoji really mean?


[loi-ter] /ˈlɔɪ tər/
verb (used without object)
to linger aimlessly or as if aimless in or about a place:
to loiter around the bus terminal.
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.
to waste time or dawdle over work:
He loiters over his homework until one in the morning.
verb (used with object)
to pass (time) in an idle or aimless manner (usually followed by away):
to loiter away the afternoon in daydreaming.
Origin of loiter
1300-50; Middle English loteren, loytren, perhaps < Middle Dutch loteren to stagger, totter; compare Dutch leuteren to dawdle
Related forms
loiterer, noun
loiteringly, adverb
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. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for loiterer
Historical Examples
  • He cannot afford to be a trifler or a loiterer on the way, but must push on continually.

    A Book for All Readers Ainsworth Rand Spofford
  • The loiterer was not sold only to the local public at Oxford.

    Rowlandson's Oxford A. Hamilton Gibbs
  • Another way was described in the diary of a modern Oxford man in The loiterer.

    Rowlandson's Oxford A. Hamilton Gibbs
  • But the “loiterer” came at that moment, or rather, drove up.

    Children of the Soil Henryk Sienkiewicz
  • “They call her the Good Hope, of Dartmouth,” replied the loiterer.

    The Black Arrow Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Up to that time he allows himself to be a loiterer in ethics.

    Pedagogics as a System Karl Rosenkranz
  • A loiterer may have wandered into the building, and then left when we gave chase.

    The Secret Pact Mildred A. Wirt
  • In case of doubt, here was a cogent reason to hurry a loiterer.

    The Garden of Eden

    Max Brand
  • It is our duty to strengthen the loiterer as long as reason supplies a means.

    The Awakening of Spring Frank Wedekind
  • One was always punctual at school, the other a loiterer by the way.

British Dictionary definitions for loiterer


(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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for loiterer



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
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for loiterer

Word Value for loiterer

Scrabble Words With Friends