Definitions for idleˈaɪd l

This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word idle

Random House Webster's College Dictionary

i•dle*ˈaɪd l(adj.)i•dler, i•dlest

  1. (adj.)not working or active; unemployed; doing nothing.

  2. not filled with activity:

    idle hours.

  3. not in use or operation:

    idle machinery.

  4. habitually doing nothing or avoiding work; lazy.

  5. of no real worth, importance, or purpose:

    idle talk.

  6. having no basis or reason; baseless; groundless:

    idle fears.

  7. frivolous; vain:

    idle pleasures.

  8. meaningless; senseless:

    idle threats.

  9. (v.i.)to pass time doing nothing.

  10. to move or loiter aimlessly.

  11. (of a machine, engine, or mechanism) to operate at a low speed, disengaged from the load.

    Category: Automotive, Machinery

  12. (v.t.)to pass (time) doing nothing (often fol. by away):

    to idle away the afternoon.

  13. to cause to be idle:

    The strike idled many workers.

  14. to cause (a machine, engine, or mechanism) to idle.

    Category: Common Vocabulary, Machinery

  15. (n.)the state or quality of being idle.

  16. the state of a machine, engine, or mechanism that is idling:

    an engine at idle.

    Category: Automotive, Machinery

* Syn: idle , indolent , lazy , slothful apply to a person who is not active. idle means to be inactive or not working at a job; it is not necessarily derogatory: pleasantly idle on a vacation. indolent means naturally disposed to avoid exertion: an indolent and contented fisherman. lazy means averse to exertion or work, and esp. to continued application; the word is usu. derogatory: too lazy to earn a living. slothful denotes a reprehensible unwillingness to do one's share; it describes a person who is slow-moving and lacking in energy: The heat made the workers slothful. See also loiter.

Origin of idle:

bef. 900; ME, OE īdel empty, trifling, useless, c. OFris īdel, OS īdal, OHG ītal


Princeton's WordNet

  1. idle(adj)

    the state of an engine or other mechanism that is idling

    "the car engine was running at idle"

  2. idle(adj)

    not in action or at work

    "an idle laborer"; "idle drifters"; "the idle rich"; "an idle mind"

  3. baseless, groundless, idle, unfounded, unwarranted, wild(adj)

    without a basis in reason or fact

    "baseless gossip"; "the allegations proved groundless"; "idle fears"; "unfounded suspicions"; "unwarranted jealousy"

  4. idle, unused(adj)

    not in active use

    "the machinery sat idle during the strike"; "idle hands"

  5. idle, light(adj)

    silly or trivial

    "idle pleasure"; "light banter"; "light idle chatter"

  6. idle, loose(adj)

    lacking a sense of restraint or responsibility

    "idle talk"; "a loose tongue"

  7. dead, idle(adj)

    not yielding a return

    "dead capital"; "idle funds"

  8. idle, jobless, out of work(verb)

    not having a job

    "idle carpenters"; "jobless transients"; "many people in the area were out of work"

  9. idle, tick over(verb)

    run disconnected or idle

    "the engine is idling"

  10. idle, laze, slug, stagnate(verb)

    be idle; exist in a changeless situation

    "The old man sat and stagnated on his porch"; "He slugged in bed all morning"

Kernerman English Learner's Dictionary

  1. idle(adjective)ˈaɪd l

    not being used

    The steam engine lay idle for many years.

  2. idleˈaɪd l

    useless or without purpose

    idle chat/gossip

  3. idleˈaɪd l


    an idle boy


  1. idle(Verb)

    To spend in idleness; to waste; to consume.

  2. idle(Verb)

    To lose or spend time doing nothing, or without being employed in business.

  3. idle(Verb)

    Of an engine: to run at a slow speed, or out of gear; to tick-over.

  4. idle(Adjective)

    Empty, vacant.

  5. idle(Adjective)

    Not turned to appropriate use; not occupied.

  6. idle(Adjective)

    Not engaged in any occupation or employment; unemployed; inactive; doing nothing.

    idle workmen

  7. idle(Adjective)

    Averse to work, labor or employment; lazy; slothful.

    an idle fellow

  8. idle(Adjective)

    Of no importance; useless; worthless; vain; trifling; thoughtless; silly.

    an idle story; idle talk; idle rumor

  9. Origin: idel, from West *. Cognate with Dutch ijdel, German eitel.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Idle

    of no account; useless; vain; trifling; unprofitable; thoughtless; silly; barren

  2. Idle

    not called into active service; not turned to appropriate use; unemployed; as, idle hours

  3. Idle

    not employed; unoccupied with business; inactive; doing nothing; as, idle workmen

  4. Idle

    given rest and ease; averse to labor or employment; lazy; slothful; as, an idle fellow

  5. Idle

    light-headed; foolish

  6. Idle(verb)

    to lose or spend time in inaction, or without being employed in business

  7. Idle(verb)

    to spend in idleness; to waste; to consume; -- often followed by away; as, to idle away an hour a day


  1. Idle

    Idle is a term which generally refers to a lack of motion and/or energy.

The Foolish Dictionary, by Gideon Wurdz

  1. IDLE

    Useless. IDOLIZE To make useless.

Anagrams of idle

  1. lied

  2. diel

  3. deli

Translations for idle

Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary


not working; not in use

ships lying idle in the harbour.

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