- See under lag1(def 6).
- to fail to maintain a desired pace or to keep up; fall or stay behind: After five minutes of hard running, some of them began to lag.
- to move or develop slowly, as toward a goal or objective, or in relation to an associated factor (often followed by behind): to lag behind in production.
- to delay or fail in reaching full development: The factory lags regularly in making its quota.
- to hang back; linger; delay: The old friends lagged because they wanted to talk some more.
- to decrease, wane, or flag gradually, as in intensity: Interest lagged as the meeting went on.
- Marbles. to throw one's shooting marble toward a line (lag line) on the ground in order to decide on the order of play.
- Billiards, Pool. string(def 17b).
- to fail to keep up with: The industry still lags the national economy.
- Obsolete. to cause to lag.
- a lagging or falling behind; retardation.
- a person who lags behind, is the last to arrive, etc.
- an interval or lapse of time: There was a developmental lag in the diffusion of ideas.
- Mechanics. the amount of retardation of some motion.
- Electricity. the retardation of one alternating quantity, as current, with respect to another related alternating quantity, as voltage, often expressed in degrees.
- Marbles, Billiards. the act of lagging.
Origin of lag1
- (often foll by behind) to hang (back) or fall (behind) in movement, progress, development, etc
- to fall away in strength or intensity
- to determine an order of play in certain games, as by rolling marbles towards a line or, in billiards, hitting cue balls up the table against the top cushion in an attempt to bring them back close to the headrail
- the act or state of slowing down or falling behind
- the interval of time between two events, esp between an action and its effect
- an act of lagging in a game, such as billiards
- a convict or ex-convict (esp in the phrase old lag)
- a term of imprisonment
- (tr) to arrest or put in prison
- (tr) to cover (a pipe, cylinder, etc) with lagging to prevent loss of heat
- the insulating casing of a steam cylinder, boiler, etc; lagging
- a stave or lath
Word Origin and History for lag line
"fail to keep pace," 1520s, earlier as a noun meaning "last person" (1510s), later also as an adjective (1550s; e.g. lag-mon "last man"), all of uncertain relationship, possibly from a Scandinavian source (cf. Norwegian lagga "go slowly"), or some dialectal version of last, lack, or delay. Related: Lag; lagging. The noun meaning "retardation" is from 1855. First record of lag time is from 1951.