One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1no object, with adverbial of place Stand or wait around without apparent purpose.‘she saw Mary loitering near the cloakrooms’
linger, potter, wait, skulkView synonyms
- ‘Egg-laying hens loiter near their hen house and sometimes into the flowerbed.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘This was a place for lost souls to loiter, waiting for a judgment never to come.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘Her eyes strayed to a biker loitering near his glitzy ride, all chrome and shiny metallic exhaust pipes.’
- ‘It turns out Risaku's mere hunch became reality and an assassin stood there, loitering in the doorway.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘Nel had also been seen loitering near her home almost daily, standing there while watching her house.’
- ‘I engaged in mundane chit-chat and constantly asked dumb questions to just about anyone who happened to be loitering in the vicinity.’
- ‘The thin man who had been loitering near the doorway slipped up to Umberto.’
- ‘We found that parental males keep track of how many sneaker males they see loitering near their nests during spawning time.’
- ‘Outside my window I could see Neil, my former team leader, loitering near the car park entrance.’
- ‘During this hostile exchange, Nageku loitered near the buffet table and helped himself to some wine.’
- ‘You're standing here loitering about in a very suspicious manner.’
- ‘He was a generally despicable character, always loitering near his betters like a poisonous cloud, seeking only to advance his own pathetic powers.’
- ‘I looked out of the window and could see three men loitering near the shop.’
- ‘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’.’
- ‘Be aware of youths loitering near vehicles or at traffic lights’
- 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’
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, delayView synonyms
- ‘Alabaster couples loitered along the garden path, handsome, whole and serene.’
loiter with intent
dated Stand or wait around with the intention of committing an offence.
Late Middle English: perhaps from Middle Dutch loteren ‘wag about’.
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