I·dle a. [Compar. Idler superl. Idlest.]
1. Of no account; useless; vain; trifling; unprofitable; thoughtless; silly; barren. “Deserts idle.”
Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. --Matt. xii. 36.
Down their idle weapons dropped. --Milton.
This idle story became important. --Macaulay.
2. Not called into active service; not turned to appropriate use; unemployed; as, idle hours.
The idle spear and shield were high uphing. --Milton.
3. Not employed; unoccupied with business; inactive; doing nothing; as, idle workmen.
Why stand ye here all the day idle? --Matt. xx. 6.
4. Given rest and ease; averse to labor or employment; lazy; slothful; as, an idle fellow.
5. Light-headed; foolish. [Obs.]
Idle pulley Mach., a pulley that rests upon a belt to tighten it; a pulley that only guides a belt and is not used to transmit power.
Idle wheel Mach., a gear wheel placed between two others, to transfer motion from one to the other without changing the direction of revolution.
In idle, in vain. [Obs.] “God saith, thou shalt not take the name of thy Lord God in idle.”
Syn: -- Unoccupied; unemployed; vacant; inactive; indolent; sluggish; slothful; useless; ineffectual; futile; frivolous; vain; trifling; unprofitable; unimportant.
Usage: -- Idle, Indolent, Lazy. A propensity to inaction is expressed by each of these words; they differ in the cause and degree of this characteristic. Indolent denotes an habitual love to ease, a settled dislike of movement or effort; idle is opposed to busy, and denotes a dislike of continuous exertion. Lazy is a stronger and more contemptuous term than indolent.
I·dle, v. i. [imp. & p. p. Idled p. pr. & vb. n. Idling ] To lose or spend time in inaction, or without being employed in business.
I·dle, v. t. To spend in idleness; to waste; to consume; -- often followed by away; as, to idle away an hour a day.
adj 1: not in action or at work; "an idle laborer"; "idle
drifters"; "the idle rich"; "an idle mind" [ant: busy]
2: without a basis in reason or fact; "baseless gossip"; "the
allegations proved groundless"; "idle fears"; "unfounded
suspicions"; "unwarranted jealousy" [syn: baseless, groundless,
3: not in active use; "the machinery sat idle during the
strike"; "idle hands" [syn: unused]
4: silly or trivial; "idle pleasure"; "light banter"; "light
idle chatter" [syn: light]
5: lacking a sense of restraint or responsibility; "idle talk";
"a loose tongue" [syn: loose]
6: not yielding a return; "dead capital"; "idle funds" [syn: dead]
7: not having a job; "idle carpenters"; "jobless transients";
"many people in the area were out of work" [syn: jobless,
out of work]
v 1: run disconnected or idle; "the engine is idling" [syn: tick
over] [ant: run]
2: be idle; exist in a changeless situation; "The old man sat
and stagnated on his porch"; "He slugged in bed all
morning" [syn: laze, slug, stagnate] [ant: work]