[ ling-ger ]
See synonyms for: lingerlingeredlingeringlingers on

verb (used without object)
  1. to remain or stay on in a place longer than is usual or expected, as if from reluctance to leave: We lingered awhile after the party.

  2. to remain alive; continue or persist, although gradually dying, ceasing, disappearing, etc.: She lingered a few months after the heart attack. Such practices still linger among the older natives.

  1. to dwell in contemplation, thought, or enjoyment:to linger over the beauty of a painting.

  2. to be tardy in action; delay; dawdle: to linger in discharging one's duties.

  3. to walk slowly; saunter along.

verb (used with object)
  1. to pass (time, life, etc.) in a leisurely or a tedious manner (usually followed by away or out): We lingered away the whole summer at the beach.

  2. Archaic. to draw out or protract.

Origin of linger

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English lengeren “to dwell, remain,” literally, “to delay repeatedly,” from lengen, Old English lengan “to delay, lengthen, prolong”; see long1, -er6

Other words for linger

Other words from linger

  • lin·ger·er, noun
  • lin·ger·ing·ly, adverb
  • outlinger, verb (used with object)
  • o·ver·lin·ger, verb (used without object)
  • un·lin·ger·ing, adjective

Words Nearby linger Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use linger in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for linger


/ (ˈlɪŋɡə) /

verb(mainly intr)
  1. to delay or prolong departure

  2. to go in a slow or leisurely manner; saunter

  1. to remain just alive for some time prior to death

  2. to persist or continue, esp in the mind

  3. to be slow to act; dither; procrastinate

Origin of linger

C13 (northern dialect) lengeren to dwell, from lengen to prolong, from Old English lengan; related to Old Norse lengja; see long 1

Derived forms of linger

  • lingerer, noun
  • lingering, adjective
  • lingeringly, adverb

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