See also: Linger



From Middle English lenger, lengeren, frequentative of lengen (to tarry), from Old Norse lengja (to lengthen), from Proto-Germanic *langijaną (compare Dutch lengen, German längen), 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.
    Synonyms: abide, loiter, tarry; see also Thesaurus:tarry
    • c. 1596–1598, William Shakespeare, “The Merchant of Venice”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act II, scene ix], page 172:
      Still more foole I ſhall appeare / By the time I linger here
    • 1859, Charles Dickens, chapter 15, in A Tale of Two Cities:
      His tone lingered in the air, almost like the tone of a musical instrument.
    • 1891 July, Edith Wharton, “Mrs. Manstey's View”, in Scribner’s Magazine[1]:
      She lingered in the window until the windy sunset died in bat-colored dusk; then, going to bed, she lay sleepless all night.
    • 1931, Gus Kahn (lyrics), Fabian Andre; Wilbur Schwandt (music), “Dream a Little Dream of Me”:
      Stars fading but I linger on, dear / Still craving your kiss / I'm longin' to linger till dawn, dear / Just saying this
    • 2011 April 25, Alice Park, “Upgrading the Disaster”, in Time[2]:
      It takes into account [] predictions of how long radioactive contaminants will linger in the soil and water near the nuclear facility.
    • 2016 January 30, “Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Nomination”, in The New York Times[3], retrieved 30 January 2016:
      Mrs. Clinton’s main opponent, Senator Bernie Sanders, a self-described Democratic Socialist, has proved to be more formidable than most people, including Mrs. Clinton, anticipated. He has brought income inequality and the lingering pain of the middle class to center stage and pushed Mrs. Clinton a bit more to the left than she might have gone on economic issues.
  2. (intransitive) To remain alive or existent although still proceeding toward death or extinction; to die gradually.
    • 1887, Thomas Hardy, chapter 14, in The Woodlanders:
      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 analytic thinking or discussion.
    • 2011 April 14, Michael Scherer, “Trump's Political Reality Show: Will the Donald Really Run for President?”, in Time[4]:
      Trump doesn't linger on the poll.

Derived termsEdit





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



linger m (plural lingers, feminine lingère)

  1. linenkeeper

Further readingEdit