Definitions

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

  • intransitive v. To stand idly about; linger aimlessly.
  • intransitive v. To proceed slowly or with many stops: loitered all the way home.
  • intransitive v. To delay or dawdle: loiter over a task.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To stand about without any aim or purpose; to stand about idly; to linger; to hang around.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To be slow in moving; to delay; to linger; to be dilatory; to spend time idly; to saunter; to lag behind.
  • intransitive v. To wander as an idle vagrant.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To linger; be unduly slow in moving; delay; be dilatory; spend time idly.
  • Synonyms To lag, tarry, saunter, dilly-dally.
  • To consume or waste, as time, idly or carelessly: used with away: as, he loitered away most of his leisure.

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

  • v. be about

Etymologies

Middle English loitren, probably from Middle Dutch loteren, to totter, be loose.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English loitren, from Middle Dutch loteren ("to shake, wag, wobble"), ultimately connected with a frequentative form of Proto-Germanic *lūtanan (“to bend, stoop, cower, shrink from, decline”), see lout. Cognate with Modern Dutch leuteren ("to dawdle"), Swiss German lottern ("to wobble"), German Lotterbube ("rascal"). More at lout, little. (Wiktionary)

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