When someone lingers, he or she takes an unexpectedly long time to depart, as Romeo lingers when bidding Juliet farewell (or as annoying houseguests almost always tend to do).

In addition to its primary meaning of "taking a long time to depart," linger has the additional meaning of "persisting while gradually weakening." In this sense, linger can refer to feelings or sensations that slowly fade away, like the smell of perfume that lingers in an elevator after the passengers have exited.

Definitions of linger
  1. verb
    remain present although waning or gradually dying
    “Her perfume lingered on”
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    type of:
    persist, remain, stay
    stay behind
  2. verb
    be about
    synonyms: footle, hang around, lallygag, loaf, loiter, lollygag, lounge, lurk, mess about, mill about, mill around, tarry
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    lurch, prowl
    loiter about, with no apparent aim
    type of:
    have the quality of being; (copula, used with an adjective or a predicate noun)
  3. verb
    take one's time; proceed slowly
    synonyms: dawdle
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    belt along, bucket along, cannonball along, hasten, hie, hotfoot, pelt along, race, rush, rush along, speed, step on it
    move fast
    type of:
    move so as to change position, perform a nontranslational motion
  4. verb
    leave slowly and hesitantly
    synonyms: tarry
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    type of:
    go away, go forth, leave
    go away from a place
  5. verb
    move to and fro
    “The shy student lingered in the corner”
    synonyms: hover
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    type of:
    hesitate, waffle, waver
    pause or hold back in uncertainty or unwillingness
Word Family

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