- An example of linger is the last guest at a party who just won't go home.
- An example of linger is when you take an hour to sip your cup of coffee.
To linger is defined as to stay somewhere or to take a long time to do something.
- to continue to stay, esp. from a reluctance to leave: lingering at the door
- to pause or dwell (over or on something) in contemplation, deliberation, enjoyment, etc.: to linger over a favorite passage in a novel
- to continue to live or exist although very close to death or the end
- to be unnecessarily slow in doing something; delay; loiter
Origin of lingerNorth Middle English lengeren, frequentative of lengen, to delay, stay ; from Old English lengan, to lengthen, delay ; from base of lang, long
to spend (a period of time) idly, slowly, etc.
intransitive verblin·gered, lin·ger·ing, lin·gers
- To stay in a place or be slow in leaving it, often out of reluctance: Friends lingered at the picnic tables, chatting. See Synonyms at stay1.
- a. To continue or persist: a smell that lingered in the air; doubts that lingered in my mind.b. To remain feebly alive for some time before dying.
- To proceed slowly; saunter: “the careless grace and dignity with which she lingered along the garden path” (Henry James).
- To devote considerable time to something, especially in a leisurely fashion: We lingered over the question for an hour.
Origin of lingerMiddle English lengeren, frequentative of lengen, to prolong, from Old English lengan; see del-1 in Indo-European roots.
(third-person singular simple present lingers, present participle lingering, simple past and past participle lingered)
- (intransitive) To stay or remain in a place or situation, especially as if unwilling to depart or not easily able to do so.
- (intransitive) To remain alive or existent although still proceeding toward death or extinction; to die gradually.
- (intransitive, often followed by on) To consider or contemplate for a period of time; to engage in analytical thinking or discussion.