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

Still, Mariota overthrew open receivers on at least three passes, continuing what has been a lingering issue. oregonlive, "Marcus Mariota, Titans hope strong start continues vs. Indianapolis Colts: Live score updates, TV channel, how to watch free live stream online," 15 Sep. 2019 After some clouds and a possible lingering shower Sunday morning, high pressure will ridge into the state with a partly sunny sky and high temperatures near 80 degrees., "Cloudy with evening showers likely," 14 Sep. 2019 Once hit by fires, many trees that appear to survive the initial blaze die a slow, lingering death. Meghie Rodrigues, Scientific American, "Why Amazon Trees Are Especially Vulnerable to This Year’s Fires," 13 Sep. 2019 And when both someones are surviving spouses still in the throes of a deep and lingering pain that never seems to pass. Roy S. Johnson |, al, "After cancer took their spouses, couple found new love through grief," 12 Sep. 2019 Song’s relatability and versatility, in turn, Paquet says, have proved indispensable to Bong’s own signature preoccupations as a filmmaker: the effortless blending of classic Hollywood genres, shot through with black comedy and lingering pathos. Patrick Brzeski, The Hollywood Reporter, "Bong Joon-ho on Enlisting South Korea's "Everyman" Superstar for 'Parasite'," 8 Sep. 2019 The shavings — scraped from a medallion that’s been seared and then frozen — melt before the dish arrives at your place, but leave a lingering fattiness that’s just the right amount of indulgence. Christina Tkacik,, "At Coelum, go for the foie, skip the CBD," 27 Aug. 2019 The event was part of a weekend of ceremonies that are unfolding in the backdrop of rising white nationalism across the country and a lingering scandal surrounding Northam and a blackface photo. NBC News, "Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam pledges new black history education," 26 Aug. 2019 At issue: First baseman Daniel Murphy has fallen into a lingering slump. Patrick Saunders, The Denver Post, "Wade Davis’ steep decline is a riddle the Rockies must solve," 20 Aug. 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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Statistics for linger

Last Updated

17 Oct 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



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


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

What made you want to look up linger? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to fake an opponent out of position

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