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 decrease, wane, or flag gradually, as in intensity: Interest lagged as the meeting went on.
(in video games) to experience a delay between player input or game signals and the in-game manifestation of that action, often due to high network latency: I’m lagging so hard that enemies are killing me before I can even attack them.
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. 33).
to fail to keep up with: The industry still lags the national economy.
Obsolete. to cause to lag.
an interval or lapse of time: There was a developmental lag in the diffusion of ideas.
Also called dis·play lag [dih-spley-lag] /dɪˈspleɪ ˌlæg/ . the delay between a signal input and its display on a screen, as a high-definition television screen or LCD, due to latency in digital data conversion.
Also called in·put lag [in-poot lag] /ˈɪnˌpʊt ˌlæg/ . (in video games) a display lag between player input or game signals and the in-game manifestation of that action, due to differences in display refresh rate or controller input: To make a competitive speed run, your best display option for minimal lag is still a CRT.
Also called net·work lag [net-wurk lag] /ˈnɛtˌwɜrk ˌlæg/ . (in video games) such a display lag due to high network latency: If you have an old computer or slow connection, lag makes multiplayer gameplay difficult.
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, Pool. the act of lagging.
Other definitions for lag (2 of 3)
to send to penal servitude; imprison
a convict or ex-convict.
a period or term of penal servitude; prison sentence.
Other definitions for lag (3 of 3)
one of the staves or strips that form the periphery of a wooden drum, the casing of a steam cylinder, or the like.
Masonry. a crosspiece between ribs in a centering.
to line or cover (an excavation) with lagging.
to cover with insulation, as a steam boiler, to prevent radiation of heat.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use lag in a sentence
As a company that is beholden to stockholders, Kate Spade usually lags, not leads trends.Handbags: The More You Pay, The Smaller They Shrink | Elizabeth Landers | December 29, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
With Rick, I think the culture just lags behind great artists much of the time, and it takes time for it to catch up.Coffee Talk with Ethan Hawke: On ‘Boyhood,’ Jennifer Lawrence, and Bill Clinton’s Urinal Exchange | Marlow Stern | December 27, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
But the film lags during long stretches—particularly in the middle, when Franco and Rogen are separated from one-another.Sony’s ‘The Interview’: A Glorious, Patriotic, and Katy Perry-Filled Mess | Marlow Stern | December 24, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
In parts of Asia, the infrastructure on which safe air travel depends lags well behind the levels achieved in the West.Flight 370 Is Just the Start: Why Asia Isn't Getting Air Safety Right | Clive Irving | March 13, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Yet, the reality is that Cuccinelli lags, and that Virginia is now an electoral bellwether.‘Last Supper’ Flap Dredges Up Ken Cuccinelli’s Demons | Lloyd Green | September 18, 2013 | THE DAILY BEAST
The miracles are believed in by many, but Spiritualism lags far behind the Mormon theology, and probably always will do.Ancient Faiths And Modern | Thomas Inman
She lags for sure, because, lost in Arno, she will see nothing again so fair as her own hills.Florence and Northern Tuscany with Genoa | Edward Hutton
Commonly also the sexual impulse develops early, whilst in other respects the mental development lags behind the physical.The Sexual Life of the Child | Albert Moll
Every great movement, which has for its object the betterment of the lot of mankind, lags far behind the times.Our National Forests | Richard H. Douai Boerker
Fuel cost, also, as has been shown, lags well behind the rate of increase of the load.Railroads: Rates and Regulations | William Z. Ripley
British Dictionary definitions for lag (1 of 3)
(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
British Dictionary definitions for lag (2 of 3)
a convict or ex-convict (esp in the phrase old lag)
a term of imprisonment
(tr) to arrest or put in prison
British Dictionary definitions for lag (3 of 3)
(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
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