From Middle English loitren, from Middle Dutch loteren (“to shake, wag, wobble”), ultimately connected with a frequentative form of Proto-Germanic *lūtaną (“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.
- To stand about without any aim or purpose; to stand about idly; to linger; to hang around.
- For some reason, they discourage loitering outside the store, but encourage it inside.