Definition of loiter in English:

loiter

verb

  • 1no object, with adverbial of place Stand or wait around without apparent purpose.

    ‘she saw Mary loitering near the cloakrooms’
    • ‘We found that parental males keep track of how many sneaker males they see loitering near their nests during spawning time.’
    • ‘Be especially aware of strangers loitering around ATMs this time of year.’
    • ‘A West Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said the man, who lives in Little Horton, challenged the group of five or six youths he discovered loitering near his car.’
    • ‘I looked out of the window and could see three men loitering near the shop.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This was a place for lost souls to loiter, waiting for a judgment never to come.’
    • ‘I engaged in mundane chit-chat and constantly asked dumb questions to just about anyone who happened to be loitering in the vicinity.’
    • ‘Outside my window I could see Neil, my former team leader, loitering near the car park entrance.’
    • ‘Her eyes strayed to a biker loitering near his glitzy ride, all chrome and shiny metallic exhaust pipes.’
    • ‘You're standing here loitering about in a very suspicious manner.’
    • ‘Egg-laying hens loiter near their hen house and sometimes into the flowerbed.’
    • ‘Be aware of youths loitering near vehicles or at traffic lights’
    • ‘Even though I was used to this kind of thing, being that I was perpetually hanging around with Celia, I loitered near the door while she browsed.’
    • ‘During this hostile exchange, Nageku loitered near the buffet table and helped himself to some wine.’
    • ‘He was a generally despicable character, always loitering near his betters like a poisonous cloud, seeking only to advance his own pathetic powers.’
    • ‘The thin man who had been loitering near the doorway slipped up to Umberto.’
    • ‘I hold that one can loiter without being stationary.’
    • ‘He said the police often received reports of young people loitering around street corners, but the fact is ‘they have a right to be there’.’
    • ‘Nel had also been seen loitering near her home almost daily, standing there while watching her house.’
    linger, potter, wait, skulk
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1with adverbial of direction Walk slowly and with no apparent purpose; dawdle.
      ‘the weather had tempted them to loiter along the banks of the Cherwell’
      • ‘Alabaster couples loitered along the garden path, handsome, whole and serene.’
      dawdle, dally, stroll, saunter, loll, go slowly, take one's time, go at a snail's pace, move at a snail's pace, drag one's feet, delay
      View synonyms

Phrases

  • loiter with intent

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

Origin

Late Middle English: perhaps from Middle Dutch loteren ‘wag about’.

Pronunciation

loiter

/ˈlɔɪtə/