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Origin of loafer

1820–30, Americanism; perhaps short for *landloafer vagabond; compare German (obsolete) Landläufer, Dutch landloper; see landloper
Related formsloaf·er·ish, adjective


  1. a brand name for a moccasinlike slip-on shoe.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for loafer

Historical Examples of loafer

British Dictionary definitions for loafer


  1. a person who avoids work; idler
  2. a moccasin-like shoe for casual wear

Word Origin for loafer

C19: perhaps from German Landläufer vagabond
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

Word Origin and History for loafer

"idler, person who loafs," 1830, of uncertain origin (see loaf (v.)). As a type of shoe, 1937. Related: Loafers.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper