Definition of laggard in US English:



  • A person who makes slow progress and falls behind others.

    ‘there was no time for laggards’
    • ‘And if we don't innovate, if we are averse to taking risks in the area of innovation, we won't be around in the future because the expense ratios will drop so much, it will leave the laggards behind and they'll lose market share.’
    • ‘Granted, hard-core globalization critics were skeptical from the start because the Compact lacked a rigorous system for monitoring corporate behavior and punishing laggards.’
    • ‘Canada leads the laggards with emissions growth at 20 percent from 1990 although it has committed to a 6 percent reduction by 2012.’
    • ‘That's leaving laggards such as Fujitsu and Toshiba further behind.’
    • ‘The drivers in the long line of traffic that builds up behind these laggards get frustrated and so their driving becomes more dangerous.’
    • ‘Among the laggards, General Electric fell 2 percent, as did Merck.’
    • ‘Yes, I mean to date Germany and Japan have been real laggards, far behind countries out there like Thailand, South Africa, Poland.’
    • ‘Without faster change, Italy is bound to fall further behind, becoming a potential drag on the already-depressed euro while former laggards such as Spain, Ireland, and Finland surge ahead.’
    • ‘In golf, he notes, statistics show that ‘in the final round of play, the tournament leaders improved their score more than did the laggards.’’
    • ‘Supervisors who improved community safety and prisoner reintegration would be rewarded; the laggards would not.’
    • ‘Yet other pioneers such as France and the Netherlands had tighter regulations for the practice of law, in the case of France a system virtually identical to that of the laggards Belgium and Italy.’
    • ‘President Bush argues that civil-service regulations are outmoded and that national security will be enhanced if the secretary of Homeland Security can punish laggards and reward talent.’
    • ‘It is a competitive world and the laggards will have to rue their complacency.’
    • ‘Instead of naming and shaming laggards, the European Commission is urging national governments and parliaments to take charge of the economic reform agenda and appoint national bodies to accelerate change.’
    • ‘Greenpeace corporate environmental campaigner Monica Richter says Greenpeace will be asking Australia's biggest companies how they measure up on the issues so it could separate the progressives from the laggards.’
    • ‘The government has an array of annual gifts and exemptions that taxpayers can use to reduce their bills and boost their investments, but laggards need to act fast.’
    • ‘But few people realize how long it will take before these directors get up to speed, change a corporate culture, and, if necessary, sweep out the laggards.’
    • ‘These ‘old’ Europe societies, far from being the front-runners, are in so many ways the laggards in handling the global challenges of the 21st century.’
    • ‘As a result Britain has slipped down every league table of international competitiveness to rest with the laggards of continental Europe.’
    • ‘The typical changeover takes 18 months to complete, so the pressure is now on laggards to get their house in order before the transition period runs out on December 31 next year.’
    straggler, loiterer, lingerer, dawdler, sluggard, slug, snail, delayer, idler, loafer, lounger, shirker, layabout, lagger
    View synonyms


  • Slower than desired or expected.

    ‘a bell to summon laggard children to school’
    • ‘Put a team back in Winnipeg: If it means putting Pittsburgh out of its misery or shifting laggard Atlanta, so be it.’
    • ‘As the CEO of the laggard portal company, Lansing has faced his share of critics, and most of them are emphatic that his ideas won't work.’
    • ‘The only realistic way is to raise Britain's laggard productivity performance.’
    • ‘Even the laggard economies of Germany and Italy are beginning to look a lot better as they're helped by the weak currency.’
    • ‘Why bother to invest in training when the benefits are likely to accrue to laggard firms?’
    • ‘We are the laggard partner in this co-evolution.’
    • ‘Operational tempo seemed particularly laggard after major victories, when maintaining the momentum of victory would seem to have promised the greatest rewards.’
    • ‘She said that Newry's success is not through external help but through the energy of the people that ‘captured the imagination of the whole of Ireland and even cajoled the laggard politicians.’’
    • ‘Some key organizers think the AFL-CIO should still push laggard unions to organize more and help to coordinate more strategic, coordinated campaigns.’
    • ‘Fiorina insists all the laggard businesses will be profitable by the middle of next year, or face more pruning.’
    • ‘Pyongyang was also voicing mounting impatience with what it deemed laggard progress on the reactor project.’
    • ‘Many investors want him to get rid of laggard performers, such as GE Appliances and GE Lighting.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, the steady rise in equity prices this year means that laggard companies are better able to restructure by selling off noncore assets at reasonable prices.’
    • ‘This middle position may reassure educators that laggard schools will be prodded without undermining public education.’
    • ‘Ark Life has shaken off its laggard status of recent years by producing the best performing unit linked Irish domestic fund in 2003.’
    • ‘Their words were soothing and completely removed any doubts we once had about possible product overlap or how 64-bit Xeons might slow already laggard Itanium sales.’
    • ‘There's one reason for the laggard performance: costs.’
    • ‘More important, India needs to get laggard companies out of state hands to help them grow again and make them competitive in world markets.’
    • ‘Returns for the first group confirm the widely held belief that ownership requirements enhance the performance of laggard companies.’
    • ‘President Georgi Purvanov says Bulgaria does not want to be tied to laggard countries in its bid for European Union membership.’


Early 18th century (as an adjective): from lag.