Synonym Chooser

How is the word loiter different from other verbs like it?

Some common synonyms of loiter are dally, dawdle, delay, lag, and procrastinate. While all these words mean "to move or act slowly so as to fall behind," 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

When might dally be a better fit than loiter?

The words dally and loiter can be used in similar contexts, but dally suggests delay through trifling or vacillation when promptness is necessary.

stop dallying and get to work

When is it sensible to use delay instead of loiter?

The meanings of delay and loiter largely overlap; however, delay usually implies a putting off of something (such as a beginning or departure).

we cannot delay any longer

When can lag be used instead of loiter?

While the synonyms lag and loiter are close in meaning, lag implies failure to maintain a speed set by others.

lagging behind in technology

When is procrastinate a more appropriate choice than loiter?

The words procrastinate and loiter are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, procrastinate implies blameworthy delay especially through laziness or apathy.

procrastinates about making decisions

Thesaurus Entries Near loiter

Cite this Entry

“Loiter.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2024.

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