Intermediate+ Word of the Day: lounge

lounge (verb, noun) /laʊndʒ/ LISTEN

You have probably heard people use the word lounge when talking about a room for relaxing or waiting, like the ones you might find in airports, train stations, or other public places. Mostly in UK English, a lounge is also a living room in someone’s home and, in US English, it’s a piece of furniture, an often backless sofa with a headrest at one end. All these senses relate to the verb lounge, which means ‘to spend time lazily, or doing nothing in particular’ or ‘to rest or lay down lazily.’

Example sentences

  • The passengers are waiting for their flight in the lounge.
  • After school, the kids watch TV in the lounge.
  • Jim sat on the lounge.
  • Emily lounged away the afternoon.
  • Jared lounged on the grass, enjoying the sunshine.

In pop culture

Lounge music is a type of easy listening music, mainly from the 1950s and 60s. It wasn’t called lounge music at the time, but the label was applied to it later, partly because it is the kind of music people might listen to for relaxation, but also because it is the kind of music that was played in hotel or cocktail lounges. Singer Billy Joel wrote his song “Piano Man “about his experience of working as a lounge singer in a hotel. You can listen to it and read the lyrics here:

Did you know?

In UK English, a lounge or lounge bar is also an area in a pub that is more comfortably furnished than the public bar. Traditionally, the public bar was where working-class (and mainly male) customers drank and more middle-class customers and most women would use the lounge bar. The prices of drinks in the lounge bar were also traditionally a little more expensive. These days, although pubs may have several different rooms and/or bars, it is rarer to find these two distinct areas.


Lounge, the verb, dates back to the early 16th century. Its origin is uncertain, but we do know that, meaning ‘to loll idly,’ ‘to rest lazily or indifferently’ or ‘to move indolently,’ it was first used in Scotland. Some linguists have suggested that it came into English from the French s’allonger (to lounge around or lie at full length), from the Old French alongier (to lengthen) and the Latin longus (long), which would make it related to the English adjective long. Others think that it may have evolved from the obsolete noun lungis (lazy or slow person), which came into English in the 16th century from the French longis (an idle, stupid person or dreamer), evolved from the Old French name Longis, which can be traced back to the Latin name Longius, Longinus. In Medieval Christian writings, this name was given to the soldier who pierced Christ’s side with a spear, and some think it may be related to the Greek longe (lance), while others think it is related to the Latin longus (this would also mean that lounge is related to long). The sense ‘to recline lazily’ dates back to the mid-18th century. The noun comes from the verb and, meaning ‘a place for gathering’ or ‘a pastime,’ dates back to the  late 18th century, but both of these senses are now obsolete. The meaning ‘the act of lounging’ first appeared in the early 19th century. The meaning ‘a chair in which you can lie at full length’ dates back to the 1830s, while the sense ‘a comfortable drawing room’ has been around since the late 19th century.

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