loiter

[loi-ter]

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.

Nearby words

  1. loir-et-cher,
  2. loire,
  3. loire-atlantique,
  4. loiret,
  5. lois,
  6. loitering,
  7. loja,
  8. lok sabha,
  9. lokacara,
  10. lokayata

Origin of loiter

1300–50; Middle English loteren, loytren, perhaps < Middle Dutch loteren to stagger, totter; compare Dutch leuteren to dawdle

SYNONYMS FOR loiter
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. 1–4. loaf. 2, 3. delay, tarry.

Related formsloi·ter·er, nounloi·ter·ing·ly, adverb

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for loitering


British Dictionary definitions for loitering

loiter

verb

(intr) to stand or act aimlessly or idly
Derived Formsloiterer, nounloitering, noun, adjective

Word Origin for loiter

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

Word Origin and History for loitering
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper