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loiter

[ loi-ter ]
/ ˈlɔɪ tər /
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See synonyms for: loiter / loitered / loitering / loiterer on Thesaurus.com

verb (used without object)

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.

verb (used with object)

to pass (time) in an idle or aimless manner (usually followed by away): to loiter away the afternoon in daydreaming.

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Origin of loiter

First recorded before 1300–50; Middle English loteren, loytren, perhaps from Middle Dutch loteren “to stagger, totter”; compare Dutch leuteren “to dawdle”
1. Loiter, dally, dawdle, idle imply moving or acting slowly, stopping for unimportant reasons, and in general wasting time. To loiter is to linger aimlessly: to loiter outside a building. To dally is to loiter indecisively or to delay as if free from care or responsibility: to dally on the way home. To dawdle is to saunter, stopping often, and taking a great deal of time, or to fritter away time working in a halfhearted way: to dawdle over a task. To idle is to move slowly and aimlessly, or to spend a great deal of time doing nothing: to idle away the hours.
loi·ter·er, nounloi·ter·ing·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

British Dictionary definitions for loiter

loiter
/ (ˈlɔɪtə) /

verb

(intr) to stand or act aimlessly or idly
loiterer, nounloitering, noun, adjective
C14: perhaps from Middle Dutch löteren to wobble: perhaps related to Old English lūtian to lurk
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
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