When you can't keep up with your fellow marathon runners, you can say that you lag behind them.

The word lag describes a kind of slowness or delay. As a noun, it means a slowing: "The coach was disappointed by the lag in her swimmers' best times that day." When you lag behind someone, you fall back or don't measure up. A student who struggles with math, for example, might say that his grades lag behind his best friend's. In the 1550s, lag meant "last person."

Definitions of lag
  1. verb
    hang (back) or fall (behind) in movement, progress, development, etc.
    synonyms: dawdle, fall back, fall behind
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    drag, drop back, drop behind, get behind, hang back, trail
    lag or linger behind
    type of:
    travel behind, go after, come after
  2. noun
    the act of slowing down or falling behind
    synonyms: retardation, slowdown
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    type of:
    delay, holdup
    the act of delaying; inactivity resulting in something being put off until a later time
  3. noun
    the time between one event, process, or period and another
    synonyms: interim, meantime, meanwhile
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    the time between two reigns, governments, etc.
    type of:
    interval, time interval
    a definite length of time marked off by two instants
  4. noun
    one of several thin slats of wood forming the sides of a barrel or bucket
    synonyms: stave
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    type of:
    slat, spline
    a thin strip (wood or metal)
  5. verb
    lock up or confine, in or as in a jail
    synonyms: gaol, immure, imprison, incarcerate, jail, jug, put away, put behind bars, remand
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    type of:
    confine, detain
    deprive of freedom; take into confinement
  6. verb
    cover with lagging to prevent heat loss
    lag pipes”
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    type of:
    provide with a covering or cause to be covered
  7. verb
    throw or pitch at a mark, as with coins
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    type of:
    flip, pitch, sky, toss
    throw or toss with a light motion
Word Family

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