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lag behind in something
to fall behind in something. I am lagging behind in my car payments. She is lagging behind in her homework assignments.
lag behind (someone or something)
to linger behind someone or something; to fall behind someone or something. Come on up here. Don't lag behind us or you'll get lost. Please don't lag behind the donkeys. Come up here with the rest of the hikers.
lag behind (somebody/something)
to not be at the level that someone or something else has already achieved The pay for government workers lags behind the pay for workers in private industry. He lagged far behind his classmates in reading and math skills.
Etymology: based on the literal meaning of lag behind (to not walk as quickly as your companions)
1. To fail to maintain the pace or progress of someone or something; straggle: I lagged behind the rest of the hikers and got lost. Don't forget to do your readings for class, or you'll lag behind.
2. To proceed or develop with comparative slowness: Sales are lagging behind this year compared to last year.