- 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.
- to pass (time) in an idle or aimless manner (usually followed by away): to loiter away the afternoon in daydreaming.
Origin of loiter
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for loitering
Now, with the publication of ‘Loitering,’ the uninitiated can discover what all the fuss is about.Charles D’Ambrosio’s X-Ray Vision Is On Full Display In His New Essay Collection.
November 14, 2014
The issue has quickly turned from the supposed issue at hand—namely, is he "loitering" in a place that forbids it?Is America a Police State? For Many, Yes
September 1, 2014
An absentee father is loitering about with his son and namesake, Mason Jr., at a deserted concert hall.The Making of ‘Boyhood’: Richard Linklater’s 12-Year Journey to Create An American Masterpiece
July 10, 2014
Nor did we cruise in the singles bar or Christopher Street sense, loitering with sexual intent.P.J. O’Rourke on Grabbing the Keys to Happiness
P. J. O’Rourke
January 24, 2014
The spotted hawk swoops by and accuses me ... he complains of my gab and my loitering.A Eulogy for Marie Colvin
March 14, 2012
If the Father found her loitering there he would reprimand her.
There could be no loitering; quick work was necessary, or a spoiled wheel was the result.In the Midst of Alarms
As the boy was rather given to loitering, I went to the window.My Double Life
At times, he saw her from the distance, leaning over and loitering.
Then he lingered there, loitering about and not knowing what to say.
- (intr) to stand or act aimlessly or idly
Word Origin and History for loitering
mid-14c., verbal noun from loiter.
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.