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From Middle English lenger, lengeren, frequentative of lengen, from Old English lengan, from Proto-Germanic *langijaną (compare Dutch lengen, German lungern), probably related to the root of long.



linger (third-person singular simple present lingers, present participle lingering, simple past and past participle lingered)

  1. (intransitive) To stay or remain in a place or situation, especially as if unwilling to depart or not easily able to do so.
    • 1859, Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities, ch. 15:
      His tone lingered in the air, almost like the tone of a musical instrument.
    • 1891, Edith Wharton, "Mrs. Manstey's View":
      She lingered in the window.
    • 2011 April 25, Alice Park, "Upgrading the Disaster," Time:
      It takes into account . . . predictions of how long radioactive contaminants will linger in the soil and water near the nuclear facility.
  2. (intransitive) To remain alive or existent although still proceeding toward death or extinction; to die gradually.
    • 1887, Thomas Hardy, The Woodlanders, ch. 14:
      He lingered through the day, and died that evening as the sun went down.
    • 1904, Andrew Lang, "Asmund and Signy" in The Brown Fairy Book:
      During his absence the queen fell ill, and after lingering for some time she died.
  3. (intransitive, often followed by on) To consider or contemplate for a period of time; to engage in analytical thinking or discussion.

Derived terms[edit]




linge +‎ -ier (with elision of -i- after palatal)



linger m (plural lingers, feminine lingère)

  1. linenkeeper


External links[edit]