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 His duties include intervening when members scuffle with other gangs, such as Friends of the Dead, whose members loiter at a nearby cemetery. The Economist, "Club of cutpurses Inside the thieves’ guild in Freetown," 4 July 2020 This means Kimbrell will have to take a lengthy bus trip or loiter around his workplace, exhausted, until rideshares resume. Kate Knibbs, Wired, "Curfews Halt Transit Services—and Leave Riders Stranded," 4 June 2020 The third person turned themselves in, so were not cited for loitering/prowling or resisting arrest. Evan Casey, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wauwatosa police have issued seven citations to people who have committed crimes while violating the safer-at-home order," 29 Apr. 2020 More importantly for Arbery's case, the idea of loitering as a threatening act by African-American men remains embedded in our culture. Bonnie Kristian, TheWeek, "Ahmaud Arbery and the racist history of loitering laws," 7 May 2020 Gatti was loitering close to the dunes when officers approached him. Teresa Stepzinski, USA TODAY, "Jacksonville Beach police arrest Pennsylvania murder suspect on weekend of reopening," 19 Apr. 2020 The were also running around the streets, loitering in parking lots, and even peeping into house windows. Cailey Rizzo, Travel + Leisure, "A Herd of Wild Goats Is Taking Over a Welsh Seaside Town Under Lockdown — and the Pictures Are Hysterical (Video)," 1 Apr. 2020 Surfers, swimmers and other people engaged in water activities are allowed to cross the sand to the water but nobody is allowed to loiter or linger. Chronicle Staff, SFChronicle.com, "Coronavirus news from the Bay Area: May 1-2," 3 May 2020 That looks like fewer traffic stops and policing of low-level offenses, like loitering or housing code violations, which in turn means fewer drug arrests. Bonnie Kristian, TheWeek, "The pandemic isn't changing crime like you'd expect," 27 Apr. 2020

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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Time Traveler for loiter

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for loiter

Last Updated

8 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Loiter.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/loiter. Accessed 3 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for loiter

loiter

verb
How to pronounce loiter (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for loiter

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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