linger

verb
lin·​ger | \ ˈliŋ-gər How to pronounce linger (audio) \
lingered; lingering\ ˈliŋ-​g(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce lingering (audio) \

Definition of linger

intransitive verb

1 : to be slow in parting or in quitting something : tarry fans lingered outside the door
2a : to remain existent although often waning in strength, importance, or influence lingering doubts lingering odors
b : to remain alive although gradually dying was seriously ill, but lingered on for several months
3 : to be slow to act : procrastinate He lingered in settling the estate in order to increase his fees.
4 : to move slowly : saunter lingering homeward

transitive verb

1 : to pass (a period of time) slowly
2 obsolete : delay

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Other Words from linger

lingerer \ ˈliŋ-​gər-​ər How to pronounce lingerer (audio) \ noun
lingeringly \ ˈliŋ-​g(ə-​)riŋ-​lē How to pronounce lingeringly (audio) \ adverb

Examples of linger in a Sentence

The tourists didn't linger very long. She lingered at the art exhibit. He lingered in bed and missed breakfast. They lingered over coffee after dinner. The heat lingered long after the sun had gone down. The smell of her perfume lingered. The idea lingered in their minds.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Wood retains heat longer, so wood tubs are perfect for lingering in and... Kimberly Chrisman-campbell, WSJ, "Wooden Bath Tubs: More Appealing Than Ceramic?," 4 June 2019 While posing for a photo at the 2018 Teen Choice Awards, the pair were accidentally the victims of a photobomb — KJ was lingering in the back, making a face that was likely inspired by the Black Hood. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Cole Sprouse and Lili Reinhart's Best Moments of 2018," 28 Dec. 2018 Getting to Southeast Asia, much less lingering in it, demands a luxury of time most of us don’t have. Hanya Yanagihara, Condé Nast Traveler, "Why Luang Prabang Is the Ideal Southeast Asian City," 20 Nov. 2018 In the meantime, Ambrose will move on to a new case with the events of season one still lingering in his mind. Karen Han, Vox, "The Sinner is the rare murder mystery that doesn’t care whodunnit. Instead, it asks, “Why?”," 31 July 2018 The doctor now lingered in that corner of the room; the motions of his hands were hidden from sight. Paul Collins, BostonGlobe.com, "What lies in the lab: The gruesome murder at Harvard that transfixed New England," 11 July 2018 Long after the wailing and tears, the trauma of separation can linger in children’s minds, even after they are reunited with their parents, experts say. William Wan, Washington Post, "The trauma of separation lingers long after children are reunited with parents," 20 June 2018 People linger after lunch, talking of this and that. Bethany Jean Clement, The Seattle Times, "Feels like family: Seattle’s Dacha Diner might be your new favorite place," 29 Mar. 2019 But one question still lingers: will any of the OG cast members drop by for a cameo? De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Zac Efron Says He'd Consider a Cameo on "High School Musical: The Musical: The Series"," 27 Apr. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'linger.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of linger

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for linger

Middle English (northern dialect) lengeren to dwell, frequentative of lengen to prolong, from Old English lengan; akin to Old English lang long

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Learn More about linger

Dictionary Entries near linger

lingcod

linge

lingel

linger

lingerie

lingier

lingiest

Statistics for linger

Last Updated

13 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for linger

The first known use of linger was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for linger

linger

verb

English Language Learners Definition of linger

: to stay somewhere beyond the usual or expected time
: to continue to exist as time passes
: to remain alive while becoming weaker

linger

verb
lin·​ger | \ ˈliŋ-gər How to pronounce linger (audio) \
lingered; lingering

Kids Definition of linger

1 : to be slow in leaving : delay We lingered at the park.
2 : to continue to exist as time passes A faint smell of fried fish lingered about the place …— J. K. Rowling, Chamber of Secrets

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More from Merriam-Webster on linger

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with linger

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for linger

Spanish Central: Translation of linger

Nglish: Translation of linger for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of linger for Arabic Speakers

Comments on linger

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