loiter

verb
loi·​ter | \ ˈlȯi-tər How to pronounce loiter (audio) \
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 How to pronounce loiterer (audio) \ 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

By Saturday afternoon, reporters and photographers loitered outside the restaurant, as did people who had wandered over to gawk. Sarah Murray, latimes.com, "Why a small-town restaurant owner asked Sarah Huckabee Sanders to leave — and would do it again," 24 June 2018 Roth argues that many mentally ill prisoners are in jail for misdemeanors and minor violations like shoplifting or loitering, crimes that should have alerted mental health providers rather than pointed them toward prison. Sam Dolnick, New York Times, "The ‘Insane’ Way Our Prison System Handles the Mentally Ill," 22 May 2018 Griffin is also equipped with the Iron Fist active protection system, can launch loitering munitions from the turret, and weighs approximately 40 tons. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "One of These 3 Tanks Will Replace the U.S. Army’s M2 Bradley," 10 Oct. 2018 Typically institutions like the DEA and ICE loiter, like uninvited guests, at the margins of public discussion. Kathleen Frydl, Vox, "Why we should abolish ICE — and the DEA too," 14 Aug. 2018 Today, youths loiter at these entrances with cell phones to send an alert if police or strangers enter. Washington Post, "Having being deported to Central America after fleeing gangs," 3 July 2018 The waxing gibbous moon approaches Mars on July 26 but appears to loiter near the planet the next day. Blaine P. Friedlander Jr., Washington Post, "Skywatch: July is the month of Mars," 30 June 2018 Two homeless people — a 47-year-old woman and 49-year-old man — were found loitering in the basement of an apartment building in the 2000 block of 10th Avenue, Jan. 3. Erik S. Hanley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Driver gets six citations in traffic stop on I-794," 10 Jan. 2018 With that recognition, however, white people can use their privilege for more than just low-interest mortgage loans and outing Negroes loitering in local Starbucks cafés. Michael Harriot, The Root, "A Thank-You Letter to Kim Kardashian for Proving White Privilege Is Real," 7 June 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

26 Apr 2019

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 How to pronounce loiter (audio) \
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 How to pronounce loiter (audio) \

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

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