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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), Alemannic German lottern (to wobble), German Lotterbube (rascal). More at lout, little.



loiter (third-person singular simple present loiters, present participle loitering, simple past and past participle loitered)

  1. To stand about without any aim or purpose; to stand about idly
    For some reason, they discourage loitering outside the store, but encourage it inside.
    • 2015 January 31, Daniel Taylor, “David Silva seizes point for Manchester City as Chelsea are checked”, in The Guardian (London)[1]:
      Agüero, as usual, was loitering with intent and swung his left foot at the ball. The shot was going wide but Silva was there to apply the decisive touch inside the six-yard area.
    Synonyms: linger, hang around