1. To remain persistently or for a longer time than anticipated. I just wanted to go home after the seminar finished, but a number of attendees were still lingering on in the lobby. Despite her assurances, I still had a few concerns lingering on.
2. To remain focused on or preoccupied by something for longer than is necessary or advantageous. Time will be extremely tight in this exam, so don't linger on any questions to which you don't know the answer right away. I don't want to linger on this topic any longer than we have already, so I'll keep my response brief.
3. To remain alive after someone else passes away. After my father died, my mother lingered on for a couple of months before passing away as well. I just don't think she could bear being without him. My great-uncle Charlie lived for nearly 20 years after his brothers and sisters died, lingering on to the ripe-old age of 107.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
linger on (after someone or something)and stay on (after someone or something)
to outlast someone or something; to live longer than someone else or long after an event. Aunt Sarah lingered on only a few months after Uncle Herman died. She lingered on and was depressed for a while.
linger on something
to delay moving on to the next thing; to remain at something and not move on. Don't linger on that one problem so long. I don't want to waste a lot of time lingering on this question.
to remain for a long time; to exist longer than would have been thought. This cold of mine just keeps lingering on. Some of the guests lingered on for a long time after the party was over.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.