Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • intransitive v. To be slow in leaving, especially out of reluctance; tarry. See Synonyms at stay1.
  • intransitive v. To remain feebly alive for some time before dying.
  • intransitive v. To persist: an aftertaste that lingers.
  • intransitive v. To proceed slowly; saunter.
  • intransitive v. To be tardy in acting; procrastinate.
  • transitive v. To pass (a period of time) in a leisurely or aimless manner.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To stay or remain in a place or situation, especially as if unwilling to depart or not easily able to do so.
  • v. To remain alive or existent although still proceeding toward death or extinction; to die gradually.
  • v. To consider or contemplate for a period of time; to engage in analytical thinking or discussion.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To delay; to loiter; to remain or wait long; to be slow or reluctant in parting or moving; to be slow in deciding; to be in suspense; to hesitate.
  • transitive v. To protract; to draw out.
  • transitive v. To spend or pass in a lingering manner; -- with out.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To make long; prolong; protract; delay; put off; defer.
  • To spend in an inactive or tedious manner; drag: with out, and sometimes away.
  • To remain in a place or a state for an unusual, undue, or unexpected length of time; defer action, movement, decision, etc., either from inclination or necessity; hold back; tarry; delay; loiter.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. move to and fro
  • v. remain present although waning or gradually dying
  • v. be about
  • v. take one's time; proceed slowly
  • v. leave slowly and hesitantly

Etymologies

Middle English lengeren, frequentative of lengen, to prolong, from Old English lengan; see del-1 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
leng "to lengthen, delay" (11-16 centuries), from Old English lengan, probably of Indo-European origin (cognates include Persian لنگ, Albanian ling ("animal charge, ride")). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • He lets the word linger for a while and savors a mouthful of his drink.

    The Redleys

  • While the ghosts of Hitler and Stalin linger in the city 's architectural bones, Berlin' s young generation has chosen to transform the past into something liberating.

    The New German Expressionism

  • And letting negative charges linger is always bad.

    08/20/2004

  • The shadow of a tree upon any house blesses it, weaving with its cool, hypnotic gestures a soothing quiet; but the place, of all human habitations, where it best loves to linger is a village street.

    The Spring of Joy: A Little Book of Healing

  • Europe, moreover, has long memories - and the memory that will linger from the Greek crisis is of a more or less isolated Germany now unwilling to fuel the European integration process in the way it once did.

    openDemocracy

  • It was more stressful than fun so I'll take my time and let some titles linger on a bit for those slow times that usually come afterwards.

    Gaming Nexus

  • His name will linger because it's the biggest name.

    The Start of a New Silly Season for Jackson

  • In the 1962 film version of Harper Lee's masterpiece To Kill A Mockingbird, the image of an ideal childhood -- crayons, marbles, whistles, and coins linger across the screen, opening 1948's depression-era tale about hate, prejudice, fear, and the stupidity of mob rule over the law of the land.

    Tom Gregory: To Lynch a Mockingbird

  • Because I have so much I have let a lot of titles linger because reading too many in a row can make them all seem alike.

    Archive 2008-08-01

  • I linger, which is also why I never have ths time ...

    40 Before 40

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Comments

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  • The Sight
    Page 338
    Only Blackstar lingered, his eyes burning with anger.

    November 5, 2012

  • Perhaps life is very hard for you or a loved one, and you are wondering why God has allowed you or your loved one to linger.

    January 11, 2011

  • "You know I'm such a fool for you
    You got me wrapped around your finger
    Do you have to let it linger?
    Do you have to, do you have to
    Do you have to let it linger?"

    August 29, 2008

  • Reminds me of the Cranberries.

    August 15, 2007