What does idle mean?

Definitions for idleˈaɪd l

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word idle.

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"


  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.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Idle

    ī′dl, adj. vain: trifling: unemployed: averse to labour: not occupied: useless: unimportant: unedifying.—v.t. to spend in idleness.—v.i. to be idle or unoccupied.—adj. I′dle-head′ed, foolish.—ns. I′dlehood, I′dleness; I′dler; Id′lesse, idleness; I′dle-wheel, a wheel placed between two others simply for transferring the motion from one to the other without changing the direction.—n.pl. I′dle-worms, once jocularly supposed to be bred in the fingers of lazy maid-servants.—adv. I′dly. [A.S. idel; Dut. ijdel, Ger. eitel.]

The Foolish Dictionary, by Gideon Wurdz

  1. IDLE

    Useless. IDOLIZE To make useless.

Suggested Resources

  1. idle

    Song lyrics by idle -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by idle on the Lyrics.com website.

  2. IDLE

    What does IDLE stand for? -- Explore the various meanings for the IDLE acronym on the Abbreviations.com website.

Anagrams for idle »

  1. lied

  2. diel

  3. deli


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of idle in Chaldean Numerology is: 4

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of idle in Pythagorean Numerology is: 3

Sample Sentences & Example Usage

  1. Proverb:

    The Devil finds work for idle hands.

  2. Demonax:

    Idle or busy, death takes all alike.

  3. Ennius:

    The idle mind knows not what it wants.

  4. Marquis de Sade:

    All universal moral principles are idle fantasies.

  5. California Civil Code, "Maxims of Jurisprudence":

    #3532. The law neither does nor requires idle acts.

Images & Illustrations of idle

  1. idleidleidle

Translations for idle

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • عاطل عن العملArabic
  • незаетBulgarian
  • desocupat, aturat, inactiuCatalan, Valencian
  • líný, mrhat, nečinný, neužitečný, nepotřebný, volný, zaháletCzech
  • nutzlos, untätig, müßig, überflüssigGerman
  • οκνηρός, ανώφελος, άνεργος, αδρανής, άχρηστοςGreek
  • desocupado, ocioso, flojear, vagabundoSpanish
  • بیهودهPersian
  • [[olla]] [[joutokäynnillä]], olla vapaalla, joutilas, joutava, maleksia, toimeton, laiskaFinnish
  • inactif, négligeable, inutile, oisif, fainéanter, fainéantFrench
  • caithScottish Gaelic
  • אבטלהHebrew
  • henyél, tétlenHungarian
  • perdere tempo, indolente, in folle, oziare, ozioso, disoccupato, inutile, inattivo, sprecare tempo, infingardo, girare al minimo, vano, sciupare nell'ozio, pigro, girare a vuotoItalian
  • Japanese
  • 게으른Korean
  • ōtiōsusLatin
  • nutteloos, inactief, nietsdoend, ijdelDutch
  • leniwyPolish
  • vagabundo, perder tempo, inapropriado, desocupado, ocioso, preguiçoso, vazio, imprestável, vão, desempregado, inútilPortuguese
  • незанятыйRussian
  • gå på tomgång, overksamSwedish
  • zembeaSwahili
  • boş, atılTurkish

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