loiter

[loi-ter]
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:
1300–50; Middle English loteren, loytren, perhaps < Middle Dutch loteren to stagger, totter; compare Dutch leuteren to dawdle

loiterer, noun
loiteringly, adverb


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.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
loiter (ˈlɔɪtə)
 
vb
(intr) to stand or act aimlessly or idly
 
[C14: perhaps from Middle Dutch löteren to wobble: perhaps related to Old English lūtian to lurk]
 
'loiterer
 
n
 
'loitering
 
n, —adj

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

loiter
mid-14c., from M.Du. loteren "be loose or erratic, shake, totter" like a loose tooth or a sail in a storm. In modern Du., leuteren "to delay, linger, loiter over one's work." Probably cognate with O.E. lutian "lurk," and related to O.E. loddere "beggar," O.H.G. lotar "empty, vain," Ger. Lotterbube "vagabond,
rascal," O.E. lyðre "base, bad, wicked."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Those who are loitering by the withered tree are waiting for salvation, which never comes.
He has a good reason for loitering for hours in the rain on a nearly derelict street notorious for drug-dealing.
When there are many, it's worth loitering around the moonflower vine to watch, especially if the night is perfectly still.
It was easier to cross to the other side of the street than come face-to-face with loitering menaces with a nose for my fear.
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