What does idle mean?

Definitions for idle
ˈaɪd lidle

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word idle.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. idleadjective

    the state of an engine or other mechanism that is idling

    "the car engine was running at idle"

  2. idleadjective

    not in action or at work

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

  3. baseless, groundless, idle, unfounded, unwarranted, wildadjective

    without a basis in reason or fact

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

  4. idle, unusedadjective

    not in active use

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

  5. idle, lightadjective

    silly or trivial

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

  6. idle, looseadjective

    lacking a sense of restraint or responsibility

    "idle talk"; "a loose tongue"

  7. dead, idleadjective

    not yielding a return

    "dead capital"; "idle funds"

  8. idle, jobless, out of workverb

    not having a job

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

  9. idle, tick oververb

    run disconnected or idle

    "the engine is idling"

  10. idle, laze, slug, stagnateverb

    be idle; exist in a changeless situation

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


  1. idleverb

    To spend in idleness; to waste; to consume.

  2. idleverb

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

  3. idleverb

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

  4. idleadjective

    Empty, vacant.

  5. idleadjective

    Not turned to appropriate use; not occupied.

  6. idleadjective

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

    idle workmen

  7. idleadjective

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

    an idle fellow

  8. idleadjective

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

    an idle story; idle talk; idle rumor

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

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. IDLEadjective

    Etymology: yðel, Saxon.

    For shame, so much to do, and yet idle. George Bull.

    For often have you writ to her; and she in modesty,
    Or else for want of idle time, could not again reply. William Shakespeare.

    No war or battle's sound
    Was heard the world around,
    The idle spear and shield were high up hung. John Milton.

    Children generally hate to be idle; all the care then is, that their busy humour should be constantly employed in something of use to them. John Locke.

    Supposing, among a multitude embarked in the same vessel, there are several that, in the fury of a tempest, will rather perish than work for their preservation; would it not be madness in the rest to stand idle, and rather chuse to sink than do more than comes to their share? Addison.

    They astonish'd, all resistance lost,
    All courage; down their idle weapons dropp'd. John Milton.

    And threatning France, plac'd like a painted Jove,
    Held idle thunder in his lifted hand. Dryden.

    Where was then
    The power that guards the sacred lives of kings?
    Why slept the lightning and the thunderbolts,
    Or bent their idle rage on fields and trees,
    When vengeance call'd 'em here? John Dryden, Spanish Fryar.

    Suffice it then, thou money god, quoth he,
    That all thine idle offers I refuse;
    All that I need I have: what needeth me
    To covet more than I have cause to use? Fairy Queen.

    Of antres vast, and desarts idle,
    It was my hent to speak. William Shakespeare, Othello.

    The murmuring surge,
    That on th' unnumber'd idle pebbles chases,
    Cannot be heard so high. William Shakespeare, King Lear.

    He was met even now,
    Crown'd with rank fumiter and furrow-weeds,
    Darnel, and all the idle weeds that grow
    In our sustaining corn. William Shakespeare, King Lear.

    This answer is both idle in regard of us, and also repugnant to themselves. Richard Hooker.

    They are not, in our estimation, idle reproofs, when the authors of needless innovations are opposed with such negatives, as that of Leo: how are these new devices brought in, which our fathers never knew? Richard Hooker, b. ii.

    His friend smil'd scornful, and, with proud contempt,
    Rejects as idle what his fellow dreamt. Dryden.

    An idle reason lessens the weight of the good ones you gave before. Jonathan Swift.

    How ill he wishes to recall the precious hours he has spent in trifles, and loitered away in idle unprofitable diversions. John Rogers, Sermons.

  2. To Idleverb

    To lose time in laziness and inactivity.

    Etymology: from the adjective.

    Yet free from this poetick madness,
    Next page he says, in sober sadness,
    That she and all her fellow-gods
    Sit idling in their high abodes. Matthew Prior.


  1. IDLE

    IDLE (short for Integrated Development and Learning Environment) is an integrated development environment for Python, which has been bundled with the default implementation of the language since 1.5.2b1. It is packaged as an optional part of the Python packaging with many Linux distributions. It is completely written in Python and the Tkinter GUI toolkit (wrapper functions for Tcl/Tk). IDLE is intended to be a simple IDE and suitable for beginners, especially in an educational environment. To that end, it is cross-platform, and avoids feature clutter.


  1. IDLE

    IDLE stands for Integrated Development and Learning Environment. It is a software application that provides a user-friendly interface and features for developers to write, run and debug code easily. IDLE is commonly used for Python programming language and includes features such as syntax highlighting, code completion, and a Python shell for interactive programming.

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. Idleverb

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

  7. Idleverb

    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.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records

  1. IDLE

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Idle is ranked #47006 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Idle surname appeared 452 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 0 would have the surname Idle.

    85.6% or 387 total occurrences were White.
    8.4% or 38 total occurrences were Black.
    3.9% or 18 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.
    1.5% or 7 total occurrences were of two or more races.

Anagrams for idle »

  1. lied

  2. deli

  3. diel

  4. lide

How to pronounce idle?

How to say idle in sign language?


  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

Examples of idle in a Sentence

  1. Chuzy:

    An IDOL is someone who is never IDLE. An idle mind is the devil's workshop,but an idol's mind is a creative office

  2. Stephen Kaboyo:

    Oil comes with its own hype. This investment seems to be way ahead of its time, these investors won't find enough business activity to support them right away. We'll have idle capacity.

  3. Thomas a Kempis:

    Never be entirely idle but either be reading, or writing, or praying or meditating or endeavoring something for the public good.

  4. Samuel Johnson:

    If you are idle, be not solitary. If you are solitary, be not idle.

  5. North Atlantic Refinery Limited:

    Currently, maintenance of the refinery requires North Atlantic to incur significant monthly financial losses. This funding will offset labour and operational costs related to maintaining the refinery in idle mode.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for idle

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • عاطل عن العملArabic
  • незаетBulgarian
  • desocupat, inactiu, aturatCatalan, Valencian
  • zahálet, nepotřebný, mrhat, volný, líný, neužitečný, nečinnýCzech
  • überflüssig, nutzlos, müßig, untätigGerman
  • άνεργος, οκνηρός, ανώφελος, αδρανής, άχρηστοςGreek
  • ocioso, flojear, desocupado, vagabundoSpanish
  • بیهودهPersian
  • laiska, toimeton, maleksia, joutilas, joutava, [[olla]] [[joutokäynnillä]], olla vapaallaFinnish
  • inutile, négligeable, fainéanter, fainéant, inactif, oisifFrench
  • caithScottish Gaelic
  • אבטלהHebrew
  • henyél, tétlenHungarian
  • girare al minimo, infingardo, vano, sciupare nell'ozio, pigro, oziare, in folle, girare a vuoto, ozioso, sprecare tempo, indolente, disoccupato, inattivo, inutile, perdere tempoItalian
  • Japanese
  • 게으른Korean
  • ōtiōsusLatin
  • nietsdoend, inactief, nutteloos, ijdelDutch
  • tomgangNorwegian
  • leniwyPolish
  • inapropriado, vagabundo, preguiçoso, ocioso, imprestável, desocupado, vazio, perder tempo, vão, desempregado, inútilPortuguese
  • незанятыйRussian
  • overksam, gå på tomgångSwedish
  • zembeaSwahili
  • boş, atılTurkish

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"idle." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 16 Jul 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/idle>.

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    (of a flowering plant) having two cotyledons in the seed
    A splay
    B flabby
    C dicotyledonous
    D tantamount

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