- The definition of idle is doing nothing or not filled with activities or actions.
- An example of idle is being unemployed and doing nothing all day.
- An example of idle is hours spent sitting in a waiting room doing nothing.
- Idle is defined as to spend time doing nothing or to operate a car engine while the car is not moving.
- An example of idle is to stand in front of a store with a group of friends just hanging out.
- An example of idle is for an engine to run while the car sits at the curb.
An idle group of girls.
- having no value, use, or significance; worthless; useless: idle talk
- vain; futile; pointless: an idle wish
- baseless; unfounded: idle rumors
- unemployed; not busy
- inactive; not in use: idle machines
- not filled with activity: idle hours
- not inclined to work; lazy
- designating certain parts of a fuel system that set an engine's idling speed
Origin of idleMiddle English idel ; from Old English empty, akin to German eitel, vain, empty ; from uncertain or unknown; perhaps Indo-European base an unverified form ai-dh, to burn, shine: basic sense, either “only apparent, seeming” or “burned out”
intransitive verbidled, idling
- to move slowly or aimlessly; loaf
- to spend time unprofitably; be unemployed or inactive
- to operate without transmitting power; esp., to operate a motor vehicle's engine while the vehicle is not moving
Origin of idle< idlethe : parallel with OE idlian, to come to nothing, be useless
- to waste; squander: usually with away: to idle away one's youth
- to cause (a motor, etc.) to idle
- to cause to be inactive or unemployed
- a. Not employed or busy: idle carpenters. See Synonyms at inactive.b. Disinclined to work or be active; lazy: “a man who could seem idle, ignorant, even incompetent, yet was able to understand and to express &ellipsis; the instincts, good and bad, of the American majority” (Godfrey Hodgson).c. Not in use or operation: idle hands; idle mills.d. Sports Not scheduled to play a game: Both teams played today but will be idle tomorrow.
- Being a period of time in which there is little or no activity: passed idle hours watching TV.
- Lacking substance, value, or basis: idle speculation; idle threats. See Synonyms at baseless, vain.
verbi·dled, i·dling, i·dles
- To pass time without being engaged in purposeful activity: “The girls idled all day long, sending their tinkling laughter flowing up and down the street” (Alai).
- To move slowly or without purpose: “I drove past the workshop &ellipsis; I idled along the driveway past the pole fence &ellipsis; to Tyhee Road” (Tom Spanbauer).
- To run at a slow speed or out of gear. Used of a motor or motor vehicle.
- To pass (time) without doing anything: idle the afternoon away.
- To make or cause to be unemployed or inactive: layoffs that idled 1,000 factory workers; a plant that was idled by a strike.
- To cause (a motor, for example) to idle.
- A state of idling. Used of a motor vehicle: an engine running quietly at idle.
- A mechanism for regulating the speed at which an engine runs at rest: set the idle higher to keep the motor from stalling.
Origin of idleMiddle English idel, from Old English īdel.
(comparative more idle, superlative most idle)
- Not turned to appropriate use; not occupied.
- idle hours
- My computer hibernates after it has been idle for 30 minutes.
- Not engaged in any occupation or employment; unemployed; inactive; doing nothing.
- idle workmen
- Averse to work, labor or employment; lazy; slothful.
- an idle fellow
- Of no importance; useless; worthless; vain; trifling; thoughtless; silly.
- an idle story; idle talk; idle rumor
(third-person singular simple present idles, present participle idling, simple past and past participle idled)
Old English īdel, from West Germanic *īdla-. Cognate with Dutch ijdel (“vain”), German eitel (“bare, worthless”).
idle - Computer Definition
Not processing any data. Some CPUs have an idle state that halts all processing until an interrupt is received. However, some circuits are always operating such as the refreshing of static and dynamic RAM memories, which would otherwise lose their content. See idle character.