lag 1 (lăg)
v. lagged, lag·ging, lags
1. To fail to keep up a pace; straggle: a hiker who lagged behind his companions on the trail.
2. To proceed or develop with comparative slowness: a nation that lags behind its neighbors in economic development.
3. To weaken or slacken; flag: My attention lagged when the lecturer changed subjects.
4. Games To determine the order of play by hitting or shooting a ball toward a mark, as in marbles or billiards, with the player whose ball stops closest to the mark going first.
1. To fail to keep up with (another): One horse lagged the others throughout the race.
2. To proceed or develop at a slower pace than (another): "putting new money into sectors that have lagged the market" (Peter Lynch).
3. Sports In golf, to hit (a putt) so that it stops a short way from the hole and can then be tapped in.
1. An interval between one event or phenomenon and another: "He wondered darkly at how great a lag there was between his thinking and his actions" (Thomas Wolfe).
2. A condition of weakness or slackening: a lag in interest.
[From earlier lag, last person, from Middle English lag-, last (in lagmon, last man), perhaps of Scandinavian origin.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.