Etymology
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loiter (v.)
early 15c., "idle one's time, dawdle over work;" perhaps from or akin to Middle Dutch loteren "be loose or erratic, shake, totter" like a loose tooth or a sail in a storm; in modern Dutch, leuteren "to delay, linger, loiter over one's work," according to Watkins, literally "to make smaller," and perhaps from Germanic *lut-, from PIE *leud- "small" (see little (adj.)).

The Dutch word is said to be cognate with Old English lutian "lurk," and related to Old English loddere "beggar;" Old High German lotar "empty, vain," luzen "lurk;" German Lotterbube "vagabond, rascal," lauschen "eavesdrop;" Gothic luton "mislead;" Old English lyðre "base, bad, wicked." Related: Loitered; loitering.
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loitering (n.)
late 14c., verbal noun from loiter (v.).
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dilly-dally (v.)

"loiter, delay, trifle," also dillydally, 1741, probably a reduplication of dally (q.v.). Related: Dilly-dallying.

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demurrage (n.)

"any detention of a vessel by the freighter in loading or unloading beyond the time originally stipulated" [Century Dictionary], 1640s, from Old French demorage, from demorer "to stay, delay, retard," from Latin demorari "to linger, loiter, tarry," from de- (see de-) + morari "to delay," from mora "a pause, delay" (see moratorium). Also "a payment in compensation by the freighter for such a delay."

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dally (v.)

c. 1300, dalien, "to speak seriously, commune;" late 14c., "to talk intimately, converse politely," possibly from Anglo-French dalier "to amuse oneself," Old French dalier, dailer, which is of uncertain origin. Sense of "waste time" in any manner emerged by late 14c.; that of "to play, sport, frolic; flirt, engage in amorous exchanges" is from mid-15c. Meaning "to linger, loiter, delay (intransitive)" is from 1530s. Related: Dallied; dallying.

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demurrer (n.)

1530s, "a pause, a delay" (a sense now obsolete); 1540 as legal pleading to the effect that, even conceding the facts to be as alleged by the opponent, he is not entitled to legal relief, from Anglo-French demurrer, Old French demorer "to delay, retard," from Latin demorari "to linger, loiter, tarry," from de- (see de-) + morari "to delay," from mora "a pause, delay" (see moratorium). Transferred sense of "objection raised or exception taken" to anything is by 1590s.

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muse (v.)

"to reflect, ponder, meditate; to be absorbed in thought," mid-14c., from Old French muser (12c.) "to ponder, dream, wonder; loiter, waste time," which is of uncertain origin; the explanation in Diez and Skeat is literally "to stand with one's nose in the air" (or, possibly, "to sniff about" like a dog who has lost the scent), from muse "muzzle," from Gallo-Roman *musa "snout," itself a word of unknown origin. The modern word probably has been influenced in sense by muse (n.). Related: Mused; musing.

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demur (v.)

c. 1200, demuren, "to linger, tarry, delay," a sense now obsolete, from variant stem of Old French demorer "delay, retard," from Latin demorari "to linger, loiter, tarry," from de- (see de-) + morari "to delay," from mora "a pause, delay" (see moratorium).

Modern sense of "raise objections, take exception, have scruples" is by 1630s, from a legal sense attested from the 1620s: "admit provisionally the facts of the opponent's proceeding but deny he is entitled to legal relief," a verb from demurrer. Such a pleading effectively stops the action until the point is settled. Related: Demurred; demurring.

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hang (v.)

a fusion of Old English hon "suspend" (transitive, class VII strong verb; past tense heng, past participle hangen), and Old English hangian "be suspended" (intransitive, weak, past tense hangode); also probably influenced by Old Norse hengja "suspend," and hanga "be suspended." All from Proto-Germanic *hanhan (transitive), *hanganan (intransitive) "to hang" (source also of Old Frisian hangia, Dutch hangen, German hängen), from PIE *konk- "to hang" (source also of Gothic hahan, Hittite gang- "to hang," Sanskrit sankate "wavers," Latin cunctari "to delay;" see also second element in Stonehenge).

As a method of execution, in late Old English (but originally specifically of crucifixion). Meaning "to come to a standstill" (especially in hung jury) is from 1848, American English. Hung emerged as past participle 16c. in northern England dialect, and hanged endured only in legal language (which tends to be conservative) in reference to capital punishment and in metaphors extended from it (I'll be hanged).

Teen slang sense of "spend time" first recorded 1951; hang around "idle, loiter" is from 1828, American English; also compare hang out. To hang back "be reluctant to proceed" is from 1580s; phrase hang an arse "hesitate, hold back" is from 1590s. Verbal phrase hang fire (1781) originally was used of guns that were slow in communicating the fire through the vent to the charge. To let it all hang out "be relaxed and uninhibited" is from 1967.

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