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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

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 Correa is expected to be placed on the disabled list on Friday with lingering back stiffness. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Reports: Astros to call up lefty Cionel Perez for Carlos Correa's spot," 29 June 2018 There’s live music to keep the crowd lingering for hours. Alison Kuznitz, courant.com, "Wethersfield Farmers' Market Celebrates 10 Years As A 'Community Asset'," 23 June 2018 The Lingering Kiss How to pull it off: The lingering kiss is one that lasts for at least 20 seconds. Jasmine Gomez, Seventeen, "17 Kissing Positions You Should Try During Your Next Makeout Session," 9 Apr. 2019 Unlike its predecessors, the heart of this home show would lie in those moments when the camera lingers a little. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "Lindsey Weidhorn Is the Woman Behind All Your Favorite HGTV Shows," 2 Apr. 2019 After his nomination for IOM head in February, Isaacs made his Twitter account private and apologized for his comments, but his reputation lingered. Renae Reints, Fortune, "UN Migration Agency Rejects Trump Nominee for Director-General," 29 June 2018 Here's to hoping this kind-hearted magic lingers a little longer. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "A Hashtag in Honor of Meghan Markle's Royal Baby Is Raising Money for Great Causes," 31 Mar. 2019 The enzyme-containing formula tackles both spots and the lingering odors that come with them. Carolyn Forte, Good Housekeeping, "How to Clean a Couch Like a Pro," 29 Mar. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about linger

Dictionary Entries near linger

lingcod

linge

lingel

linger

lingerie

lingier

lingiest

Statistics for linger

Last Updated

16 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for linger

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).

WORD OF THE DAY

to make a payment or contribution

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!