- 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.Licensed from iStockPhoto
- 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: Middle English idel from OE, 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”
- 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: < 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
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
adjective i·dler, i·dlest
- a. Not employed or busy: idle carpenters. See Synonyms at inactive.b. Avoiding work or employment; lazy: shiftless, idle youth. See Synonyms at lazy.c. Not in use or operation: idle hands.
- Lacking substance, value, or basis. See Synonyms at baseless, vain.
- To pass time without working or while avoiding work.
- To move lazily and without purpose.
- To run at a slow speed or out of gear. Used of a motor vehicle.
- To pass (time) without working or while avoiding work; waste: idle the afternoon away.
- To make or cause to be unemployed or inactive.
- 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: Middle English idel, from Old English īdel.
- iˈdle·ness noun
- iˈdler noun
- iˈdly adverb