linger

verb lin·ger \ ˈliŋ-gər \

Definition of linger

lingered; lingering play \ˈliŋ-g(ə-)riŋ\
intransitive verb
1 :to be slow in parting or in quitting something :tarry
  • fans lingered outside the door
2 a :to remain alive although gradually dying
  • was seriously ill, but lingered on for several months
b :to remain existent although often waning in strength, importance, or influence
  • lingering doubts
  • lingering odors
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 obsolete :delay
2 :to pass (a period of time) slowly

lingerer

play \ˈliŋ-gər-ər\ noun

lingeringly

play \ˈliŋ-g(ə-)riŋ-lē\ adverb

Examples of linger in a Sentence

  1. The tourists didn't linger very long.

  2. She lingered at the art exhibit.

  3. He lingered in bed and missed breakfast.

  4. They lingered over coffee after dinner.

  5. The heat lingered long after the sun had gone down.

  6. The smell of her perfume lingered.

  7. The idea lingered in their minds.

Recent Examples of linger from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of linger

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


LINGER Defined for English Language Learners

linger

verb

Definition of linger for English Language Learners

  • : to stay somewhere beyond the usual or expected time

  • : to continue to exist as time passes

  • : to remain alive while becoming weaker


LINGER Defined for Kids

linger

verb lin·ger \ ˈliŋ-gər \

Definition of linger for Students

lingered; lingering
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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