Definition of loiter in English:


Line breaks: loi¦ter
Pronunciation: /ˈlɔɪtə


[no object, with adverbial of place]
  • 1Stand or wait around without apparent purpose: she saw Mary loitering near the cloakrooms
    More example sentences
    • My only other complaint was the over-attentive waiters, who always seemed to be loitering somewhere nearby, waiting for something to happen or checking that everything was fine.
    • It turns out Risaku's mere hunch became reality and an assassin stood there, loitering in the doorway.
    • You're standing here loitering about in a very suspicious manner.
    linger, potter, wait, skulk; loaf, lounge, idle, laze, waste time, kill time, while away time
    informal hang around/round
    British informal hang about, mooch about/around
    archaic or • literary tarry
  • 1.1 [with adverbial of direction] Walk slowly and with no apparent purpose; dawdle: the weather had tempted them to loiter along the banks of the Cherwell
    More example sentences
    • Alabaster couples loitered along the garden path, handsome, whole and serene.
    dawdle, dally, stroll, saunter, loll, go slowly, take one's time, go/move at a snail's pace, drag one's feet, delay
    informal dilly-dally, mosey
    British informal mooch


loiter with intent

English Law , • dated Stand or wait around with the intention of committing an offence.



More example sentences
  • They look for odd or suspicious behavior: heavy clothes on a hot day, loiterers without luggage, anyone observing security methods.
  • Occasionally some loiterers try to bum a cigarette or an argument breaks out.
  • One option may be to play classical music at the station in a bid to deter loiterers.


late Middle English: perhaps from Middle Dutch loteren 'wag about'.

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Pronunciation: ˌkɒlərəˈtjʊərə
elaborate ornamentation of a vocal melody