Definition of loiter in English:

loiter

Line breaks: loi¦ter
Pronunciation: /ˈlɔɪtə
 
/

verb

[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.
Synonyms
linger, potter, wait, skulk; loaf, lounge, idle, laze, waste time, kill time, while away time
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.
Synonyms
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

Origin

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

Phrases

loiter with intent

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

Derivatives

loiterer

noun
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.

Definition of loiter in:

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