- 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.
- 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.
- to dwell in contemplation, thought, or enjoyment: to linger over the beauty of a painting.
- to be tardy in action; delay; dawdle: to linger in discharging one's duties.
- to walk slowly; saunter along.
- 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.
- Archaic. to draw out or protract.
Origin of linger
SynonymsSee more synonyms for linger on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for linger
Cuomo was asked to show up an hour early, but he evidently did not want to linger at the debate site.Behind the Scenes With a ‘Site Agent’: The Secret Service’s Hardest Job
October 2, 2014
One Republican consultant wondered how long Bridgegate will linger.
And when they linger open for just a few seconds longer than usual, it signals a dreaded delay.Leaky Ceilings, Catcalls, and Uncaged Pythons: 4 Hours on NYC’s Worst Subway
August 8, 2014
For a writer who was a master of reduction, never one to linger on the passing view, this was an unusually effulgent paragraph.Is This Hemingway’s Pamplona or a Lot of Bull?
July 13, 2014
In some cases the cost can linger long after the pleasure has dissipated.The High Cost of An Orgasm: Is Momentary Pleasure Worth a Lifetime of Regret?
June 28, 2014
Angie moved slowly toward the door, but Josie inclined to linger.The Fortune Hunter
Louis Joseph Vance
These are some of the legends and superstitions which linger amongst us.English Villages
P. H. Ditchfield
But it was not for long that Gloria was allowed to linger even in her own house.Gloria and Treeless Street
Annie Hamilton Donnell
But I cannot linger upon this at present, tempting although it be.Ranald Bannerman's Boyhood
I will not linger over the affair—as unpleasant to myself as it can be to any of my readers.Wilfrid Cumbermede
- to delay or prolong departure
- to go in a slow or leisurely manner; saunter
- to remain just alive for some time prior to death
- to persist or continue, esp in the mind
- to be slow to act; dither; procrastinate
Word Origin and History for linger
c.1300, lenger "reside, dwell," northern England frequentative of lengen "to tarry," from Old English lengan "prolong, lengthen," from Proto-Germanic *langjan "to make long" (cf. Old Frisian lendza, Old High German lengan, Dutch lengen "to lengthen"), source of Old English lang (see long (adj.)). Sense of "delay going, depart slowly and unwillingly" is from 1520s. Related: Lingered; lingering.