linger

verb
lin·​ger | \ ˈliŋ-gər How to pronounce linger (audio) \
lingered; lingering\ ˈliŋ-​g(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce linger (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 linger (audio) \ noun
lingeringly \ ˈliŋ-​g(ə-​)riŋ-​lē How to pronounce linger (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 Harteveldt noted Southwest’s woes could linger and affect its fourth quarter financial performance. BostonGlobe.com, 11 Oct. 2021 Harteveldt noted Southwest's woes could linger and affect its fourth quarter financial performance. CBS News, 11 Oct. 2021 Moderate effects of the storm are expected Oct. 11, while minor effects could linger into Tuesday. Fox News, 11 Oct. 2021 The recall election facing Gov. Gavin Newsom comes to an end today, but its effect on California politics could linger. Laura Blasey, Los Angeles Times, 14 Sep. 2021 The issue could linger, given that Jackson has already contracted the virus twice, missing a game last year and 10 days of training camp this year. Childs Walker, baltimoresun.com, 10 Sep. 2021 Rain chances could linger across east Alabama today, and winds could be breezy at times. Leigh Morgan, al, 17 Aug. 2021 Science writers tend to linger in the box, and that can lead them to miss important developments. Joel Achenbach, Washington Post, 11 Aug. 2021 At the end of any Prime Day, certain products—like Amazon Alexa devices, for example—confidently shoot back to their normal list price, while a lot of other deals tend to linger for a day or two. Kara Cuzzone, Forbes, 23 June 2021

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

Time Traveler for linger

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near linger

lingel

linger

lingerie

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for linger

Last Updated

15 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Linger.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/linger. Accessed 23 Oct. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon
Seen & Heard
People are talking about

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, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

More from Merriam-Webster on linger

Nglish: Translation of linger for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of linger for Arabic Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Dog Words Quiz

  • shiba puppy more or less demanding cuddles
  • Which of the following animals has a dog in its etymology?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

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!