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loiter

[loi-ter] /ˈlɔɪ tər/
verb (used without object)
1.
to linger aimlessly or as if aimless in or about a place:
to loiter around the bus terminal.
2.
to move in a slow, idle manner, making purposeless stops in the course of a trip, journey, errand, etc.:
to loiter on the way to work.
3.
to waste time or dawdle over work:
He loiters over his homework until one in the morning.
verb (used with object)
4.
to pass (time) in an idle or aimless manner (usually followed by away):
to loiter away the afternoon in daydreaming.
Origin
1300-1350
1300-50; Middle English loteren, loytren, perhaps < Middle Dutch loteren to stagger, totter; compare Dutch leuteren to dawdle
Related forms
loiterer, noun
loiteringly, adverb
Synonyms
1. Loiter, dally, dawdle, idle imply moving or acting slowly, stopping for unimportant reasons, and in general wasting time. To loiter is to linger aimlessly: to loiter outside a building. To dally is to loiter indecisively or to delay as if free from care or responsibility: to dally on the way home. To dawdle is to saunter, stopping often, and taking a great deal of time, or to fritter away time working in a halfhearted way: to dawdle over a task. To idle is to move slowly and aimlessly, or to spend a great deal of time doing nothing: to idle away the hours. 1–4. loaf. 2, 3. delay, tarry.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for loiter
  • The same ruling upheld a state law that makes it illegal to loiter in transit terminals for the purpose of begging.
  • Some of them can loiter in the air for long periods.
  • Because they combine a wide range of sensors and weapons in a platform with a long loiter time.
  • Residents are asked to move along if they loiter on streets at night.
  • It flies relatively slowly and can loiter above targets.
  • Alternatively, it can fly to an area and loiter until a forward observer directs it to a target.
  • Children who had their limbs lopped off by rebel soldiers loiter on dusty trails.
  • It is a place to loiter solitarily outside of your home.
  • On his lunch breaks, he didn't loiter with other tellers.
  • Its pilots hover low to the ground and loiter over the battlefield at great risk.
British Dictionary definitions for loiter

loiter

/ˈlɔɪtə/
verb
1.
(intransitive) to stand or act aimlessly or idly
Derived Forms
loiterer, noun
loitering, noun, adjective
Word Origin
C14: perhaps from Middle Dutch löteren to wobble: perhaps related to Old English lūtian to lurk
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for loiter
v.

early 15c., "idle one's time, dawdle over work," from Middle Dutch loteren "be loose or erratic, shake, totter" like a loose tooth or a sail in a storm; in modern Dutch, leuteren "to delay, linger, loiter over one's work." Probably cognate with Old English lutian "lurk," and related to Old English loddere "beggar;" Old High German lotar "empty, vain," luzen "lurk;" German Lotterbube "vagabond, rascal," lauschen "eavesdrop;" Gothic luton "mislead;" Old English lyðre "base, bad, wicked." Related: Loitered; loitering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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