15

I'm looking for a word that means to "relax" but with negative connotations.

e.g.

Aloysius just ____ed in bed all morning while the rest of us were out working.

or

Badralbudur, fed up of _____ing on the couch, decided to train for a marathon.

5
  • 2
    Should be "fed up with...", not "fed up of..."
    – Dan
    Jul 28 at 22:37
  • 1
    @Dan "fed up of" is heard quite widely in British English, especially when followed by a verb with -ing. Jul 29 at 10:45
  • @JamesMartin I'm fed up wif th-fronting. Just kidding. Anyway, here is some relevant discussion.
    – Dan
    Jul 29 at 11:00
  • 2
    @Dan The linked discussion would be more interesting if people said where they are from. There is regional variation in the usage, so someone expressing a view about what they're used to hearing is not so useful if they don't say which variety of English they are used to hearing! But a google search throws up places where the variation is discussed. And yeah, interesting idea that th-fronting might be relevant, it didn't seem all that likely to me but at first but who knows... Jul 29 at 12:06
  • If you are saying this to your girlfriend it's about as negative as you can get.
    – Issel
    Jul 30 at 16:41

11 Answers 11

40

Laze is the best verb here. It means:

to act or lie lazily : IDLE (M-W)

Idle could be another option

Note that the negative connotation is strengthened by your context. Lazing and idling are not always used pejoratively.

Sometimes, adding around can render the tone more accusatory.

There is also vegetating

to be passive or unthinking; to do nothing:

  • to lie on the beach and vegetate. (dict.com)
3
  • One may often hear "to laze about" if the location isn't set (e.g. if it was around your house rather than specifically on the couch)
    – Drake P
    Jul 29 at 12:24
  • Interesting about 'vegetating', (which I would find a bit obscure), as I was going to suggest 'vegging out" for the second example, although it is very slang, and might even be particular to the area of California where I grew up. Jul 29 at 21:45
  • 1
    @JonathanZsupportsMonicaC "vegging" is used as a verb by people here in the UK (at least, people I know), though I think it's more common to just say "vegging" than "vegging out".
    – kaya3
    Jul 31 at 9:56
38

Loaf is a good fit here, meaning to aimlessly idle away one's time. It can stand alone as a verb, but is often paired with around in many phrases.

1
  • 2
    In addition to pairing with "around" I also hear it paired with "about" fairly often. Jul 29 at 13:16
21

You can use slack off.

To be deliberately unproductive in one's work or study.

1
  • This is a good word. Slacking or slacking off has an unambiguous meaning of leaving outstanding duties derelict.
    – Steve
    Jul 30 at 8:22
16

Lounge (or lounge about/around) is the most common verb that fits your both example sentences naturally, and that can have negative connotations. The intended sense of the verb is confined to the actions in your examples also: sitting, lying, reclining (and sometimes leaning). Although, it can be used in a more neutral sense depending on the context; but it is clear that it would mean lying or sitting (relaxing) lazily in your examples. The verb also has the sense to pass time indolently/lazily.

Note: The verbs lie and stay are more common, especially for the example with bed, but they are neutral verbs normally. However, the connotation can shift within a context. One can even say "He was in bed all day" with a negative tone, with just the verb be. Except, the question is asking for a verb that means 'relax' with negative connotations.

Collins provides both neutral and negative connotations of the verb lounge in one definition:

If you lounge somewhere, you sit or lie there in a relaxed or lazy way.

Cambridge definition of lounge around/about:

to spend your time in a relaxed way, sitting or lying somewhere and doing very little

Another related verb is sprawl, and Merriam-Webster defines as:

to lie or sit with arms and legs spread out

4
  • I like "lounged" better for the couch example, and prefer "lazed" for on the bed. With "lounged" there seems to be a certain implication of sitting back comfortably, which is technically possible on a bed but much more the domain of couches and recliners. "Lazed" is just lazily lying about, which is easy to do on a bed or anywhere else. Jul 29 at 13:14
  • I like the answer laze also; as the negative connotation is even in the name of the verb :) Although, I provided lounge as it is the most fitting action verb with negative connotations for the example sentences (but I admit that more commonly used with couch); plus has the general "being lazy" sense. Lounge is still the most common in both usages, only second to neutral lie. Here is a Google Ngram comparison of most fitting verbs in past tense for the first example (except "lay"): tinyurl.com/2p96z2nv
    – ermanen
    Jul 29 at 21:47
  • I'm not sure "lounge" fits the intended connotation. It's relatively specifically about one's physical position, and it's primary connotation is that it's enjoyable. Jul 30 at 19:56
  • The negative connotation is not about it being not enjoyable. Relaxing lazily is enjoyable for the person doing it of course. The negative connotation is about how the other person explaining it.
    – ermanen
    Jul 30 at 20:38
10

He lolled around in bed all morning.

Merriam Webster

to refrain from labor or exertion

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  • 1
    Yes, loll is best. And now I'm going to go do some lolling around with my cat. Jul 29 at 3:01
  • 5
    in modern writing it would be easily confused with "loled" as in "laughed out loud" (different than lol: "laughing out loud")
    – jcollum
    Jul 29 at 21:27
  • As an en-Au speaker I would probably use "lolled about" instead of "lolled around", but I understand it may vary.
    – traktor
    Jul 30 at 12:57
  • @jcollum by some.
    – traktor
    Jul 30 at 13:01
  • 1
    @traktor ah you thought I meant every single person in the world would see it that way. My bad ;)
    – jcollum
    Aug 1 at 15:42
7

I would probably just go with "lay". "Laid in the bed all day", "laying on the couch". I don't think there is a word that specifically fits your requirement, as all of the suggestions so far can be positive, neutral, or negative depending on context. (Lazing around and vegetating on the beach are perfectly fine and expected if one is on vacation!) But, anecdotally, whenever I hear any parents anywhere complaining about their teenaged children being lazy, it's always something like "He just lays in the bed all morning" or "she just lays on the couch playing with her phone".

I would suggest that it's more commonly used if the intention is a mildly negative connotation. (For definitely negative connotation, you'll need more than one word.)

1
  • 3
    Lie is the correct verb normally. Lay is an incorrect informal usage of lie; although lay is commonly used in spoken language instead of lie and lay can have dialectal dominant usage also. Lay is normally transitive (requires an object) and lie is intransitive. Lie and lay are one of the most confused pairs in English anyway; as lie has the past tense form lay even. Having said that, some answers mentioned verbs with the meaning "lie lazily" to emphasize the negative connotation. That's why "lie" (or lay) is not enough. Still good answer for a colloquial usage though.
    – ermanen
    Jul 29 at 20:30
5

I would say that they were slobbing around or just that they are “a slob”.

I like the Google OED definition best:

slob /slɒb/

verb INFORMAL•BRITISH gerund or present participle: slobbing

behave in a lazy and slovenly way.

"he spent his life watching television and generally slobbing around"

1 https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/slob

4

Some additional ideas:

'Wasting time' a very direct (and negative) term, used particularly when the person is supposed to be doing something else.

'Idling' - just very factual, describing the person not doing anything (no judgement necessarily).

'Goofing off' implies a level of immaturity or child-like quality

'Killing time' or 'passing time' both kind of insinuate not using the period of time for any purpose, but they're often used when a person doesn't have a choice- like in travel.

1

Not exactly matched with your examples ( and using this you should probably change the sentence formation), lackadaisical seems to be a right choice for that meaning.

As in M-W it means lacking life, spirit, or zest.

e.g. Teachers are impatient with lackadaisical students.

0

Suitable words for the context might be:

  1. dossing,
  2. bumming, or
  3. festering.

Although the second one would have to be used with particular care to ensure only the connotation of vagrancy - you wouldn't necessarily want to say "he just bummed in bed all morning while the rest of us were out working".

Also, the first two would often be combined with around or about, and perhaps further suffixed with aimlessly for additional intensity of meaning. I can't think of any positive connotation to anyone who spends their time bumming about aimlessly.

Probably the best selection would be to say someone dossed on the couch, and festered in bed.

-3

Back Off! is as negative as it comes.

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  • 3
    Doesn't really mean 'relax' though. Jul 30 at 23:12

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