- 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.