loiter

verb
loi·​ter | \ˈlȯi-tər \
loitered; loitering; loiters

Definition of loiter 

intransitive verb

1 : to delay an activity with idle stops and pauses : dawdle asked him not to loiter on the way home

2a : to remain in an area for no obvious reason teenagers loitering in the parking lot

b : to lag behind a crowd of people, who loitered to hear the bloodcurdling threats the prisoner shouted— Willa Cather

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Other Words from loiter

loiter noun
loiterer \ˈlȯi-​tər-​ər \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for loiter

delay, procrastinate, lag, loiter, dawdle, dally mean to move or act slowly so as to fall behind. delay usually implies a putting off of something (such as a beginning or departure). we cannot delay any longer procrastinate implies blameworthy delay especially through laziness or apathy. procrastinates about making decisions lag implies failure to maintain a speed set by others. lagging behind in technology loiter and dawdle imply delay while in progress, especially in walking, but dawdle more clearly suggests an aimless wasting of time. loitered at several store windows children dawdling on their way home from school dally suggests delay through trifling or vacillation when promptness is necessary. stop dallying and get to work

Examples of loiter in a Sentence

Loitering is prohibited outside the theaters. don't loiter in this neighborhood after dark

Recent Examples on the Web

The weapon, tentatively known as PL-XX, is a very-long-range missile designed to strike enemy aircraft loitering just beyond the edge of an air battle. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "How China's New Missile Concept Could Cripple American Air Power," 23 Oct. 2018 Not only that, but the A-10 is armored, can loiter longer over the battlefield, and carries a much wider variety of armament, including laser guided rockets, bombs, missiles, and that sweet, sweet gun. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "F-35s Could Attack Islamic State This Fall," 18 July 2016 Convenience stores and other businesses as well as public facilities have used classical music and the mosquito device over the years to repel panhandlers, homeless people and loitering teenagers. Fox News, "California 7-Eleven cranks classical music to dissuade loitering," 1 May 2018 Since May officials have issued 84 citations to people caught loitering in areas closed to the public for safety. latimes.com, "The lava continues to flow from Kilauea volcano, creating a ghostly spectacle," 8 July 2018 Matzkow faces charges of felony theft, possession of methamphetamine, driving, hit and run, first degree burglary and loiter prowl, according to jail records. Zachary Hansen, ajc, "Cops: Cobb man high on meth steals SUV, rams through gate before breaking into home," 11 July 2018 So every teenage ray loitering around the Flower Garden Banks nursery zone is valuable—a product of time, effort, and energy from its mother. Brian J. Skerry, National Geographic, "Rare Manta Ray Nursery Discovered," 18 June 2018 Such aircraft could more easily maneuver at low altitudes and had the range and loitering time to do air support for infantry operations. Eric Tegler, Popular Mechanics, "Why the A-10 Warthog Is Such a Badass Plane," 19 Nov. 2016 On a sunny March morning, George Pakenham is crisscrossing the streets of the Upper West Side, sweeping the terrain for idlers, drivers who loiter at the curb with their engines running. Elizabeth Royte, Daily Intelligencer, "George Pakenham is waging a one-man war on air pollution on the Upper West Side.," 10 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'loiter.' 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 loiter

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for loiter

Middle English

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Dictionary Entries near loiter

loincloth

loir

Loire

loiter

loiter away

loiteringly

Loíza

Statistics for loiter

Last Updated

22 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for loiter

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

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More Definitions for loiter

loiter

verb

English Language Learners Definition of loiter

: to remain in an area when you do not have a particular reason to be there

loiter

verb
loi·​ter | \ˈlȯi-tər \
loitered; loitering

Kids Definition of loiter

1 : to hang around somewhere for no good reason Loitering outside the store is prohibited.

2 : to dawdle on the way to somewhere Don't loiter on your way home.

Other Words from loiter

loiterer noun
loi·​ter | \ˈlȯi-tər \

Legal Definition of loiter 

: to remain in or hang around an area for no obvious purpose specifically : to linger for the purpose of committing a crime a statute forbidding any person from loitering on school grounds

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More from Merriam-Webster on loiter

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with loiter

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for loiter

Spanish Central: Translation of loiter

Nglish: Translation of loiter for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of loiter for Arabic Speakers

Comments on loiter

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