- to linger aimlessly or as if aimless in or about a place: to loiter around the bus terminal.
- to move in a slow, idle manner, making purposeless stops in the course of a trip, journey, errand, etc.: to loiter on the way to work.
- to waste time or dawdle over work: He loiters over his homework until one in the morning.
- to pass (time) in an idle or aimless manner (usually followed by away): to loiter away the afternoon in daydreaming.
Origin of loiter
SynonymsSee more synonyms for loiter on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for loiter
But the Prussians were drawing near: it would not answer to loiter behind the wall.The Downfall
He attempted to loiter, and threw in a line as if his only intention were to fish.Murder Point
He seemed to loiter, as if on purpose to meet with our hero.Waverley
Sir Walter Scott
But the Secretary's messengers know when to hasten and when to loiter on the way.Simon Dale
Very few people are, as a rule, in Paris, and these are not tempted to loiter.The Library
- (intr) to stand or act aimlessly or idly
Word Origin and History for loiter
early 15c., "idle one's time, dawdle over work," from Middle Dutch loteren "be loose or erratic, shake, totter" like a loose tooth or a sail in a storm; in modern Dutch, leuteren "to delay, linger, loiter over one's work." Probably cognate with Old English lutian "lurk," and related to Old English loddere "beggar;" Old High German lotar "empty, vain," luzen "lurk;" German Lotterbube "vagabond, rascal," lauschen "eavesdrop;" Gothic luton "mislead;" Old English lyðre "base, bad, wicked." Related: Loitered; loitering.