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 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

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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

Even still, leaving does seem to be lingering at the back of his mind. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Is Alex Trebek Really Retiring from 'Jeopardy!'? Because Everyone Keeps Asking," 25 Feb. 2019 Pedestrian-friendly lanes — punctuated with picturesque squares and courtyards — are made for ambling, window-shopping and cafe lingering. Rick Steves' Europe, The Seattle Times, "Loving Lyon: France’s culinary capital is off the tourist path," 20 Feb. 2019 Early mornings lead into back-to-back shows and running around like a maniac, which then linger into long nights. Brooke Bobb, Vogue, "Watch Taylor Hill’s New York Fashion Week Experience, Which Included Pizza Delivery and a Backbend on the Runway," 19 Feb. 2019 But that didn’t get rid of the heartbreaking confession lingering in the air. Megan Stein, Country Living, "‘Criminal Minds’ Dropped a Major Bombshell During the Finale and People Are Furious," 7 Feb. 2019 Plus, winning over Windows users will mean figuring out some lingering app compatibility issues. Sean Hollister, The Verge, "5G is weeks away — and Tuesday marks its first real test," 30 Nov. 2018 Meanwhile, Jerry West, the Lakers' general manager at the time, hesitated because of Walton's lingering foot injury. Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press, "Golden State Warriors just copying the path of past NBA champs," 5 July 2018 From time to time, everybody leaves a task lingering on their to-do list for a few hours — or days, or weeks — too long. Jamie Ducharme, Time, "Psychologists Explain Why You Procrastinate — And How to Stop," 29 June 2018 The center was originally slated to open in 2021, though ground hasn’t yet broken because of the lingering litigation. Michael Tarm, The Seattle Times, "Judge OKs suit aimed at halting Obama library in Chicago," 19 Feb. 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

21 Mar 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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