Definition of loiter in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈloidər/


[no object]
1Stand or wait around idly or 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, wait, skulk;
loaf, lounge, idle, laze, waste time, lollygag
informal hang around
archaic tarry
1.1Travel indolently and with frequent pauses: they loitered along in the sunshine, stopping at the least excuse
More example sentences
  • Alabaster couples loitered along the garden path, handsome, whole and serene.
dawdle, dally, stroll, amble, saunter, meander, drift, putter, take one's time
informal dilly-dally, mosey



Pronunciation: /ˈloid(ə)rər/
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 around'.

Words that rhyme with loiter

exploiter, goitre (US goiter), reconnoitre (US reconnoiter), Reuter

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: loi·ter

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