from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- adj. Not employed or busy: idle carpenters. See Synonyms at inactive.
- adj. Avoiding work or employment; lazy: shiftless, idle youth. See Synonyms at lazy.
- adj. Not in use or operation: idle hands.
- adj. Lacking substance, value, or basis. See Synonyms at baseless, vain.
- intransitive v. To pass time without working or while avoiding work.
- intransitive v. To move lazily and without purpose.
- intransitive v. To run at a slow speed or out of gear. Used of a motor vehicle.
- transitive v. To pass (time) without working or while avoiding work; waste: idle the afternoon away.
- transitive v. To make or cause to be unemployed or inactive.
- transitive v. To cause (a motor, for example) to idle.
- n. A state of idling. Used of a motor vehicle: an engine running quietly at idle.
- n. A mechanism for regulating the speed at which an engine runs at rest: set the idle higher to keep the motor from stalling.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- adj. Empty, vacant.
- adj. Not turned to appropriate use; not occupied.
- adj. Not engaged in any occupation or employment; unemployed; inactive; doing nothing.
- adj. Averse to work, labor or employment; lazy; slothful.
- adj. Of no importance; useless; worthless; vain; trifling; thoughtless; silly.
- v. To spend in idleness; to waste; to consume.
- v. To lose or spend time doing nothing, or without being employed in business.
- v. Of an engine: to run at a slow speed, or out of gear; to tick over.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- adj. Of no account; useless; vain; trifling; unprofitable; thoughtless; silly; barren.
- adj. Not called into active service; not turned to appropriate use; unemployed.
- adj. Not employed; unoccupied with business; inactive; doing nothing.
- adj. Given rest and ease; averse to labor or employment; lazy; slothful.
- adj. Light-headed; foolish.
- intransitive v. To lose or spend time in inaction, or without being employed in business.
- transitive v. To spend in idleness; to waste; to consume; -- often followed by away.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- Empty; vacant; not occupied: as, idle hours.
- Not engaged in any occupation or employment; unemployed; inactive; doing nothing.
- In a state of disuse; remaining unused.
- Useless; ineffectual; vain; bootless; unavailing; futile: as, idle rage.
- Of no importance; trivial; irrelevant; flippant; pointless; unprofitable: as, an idle story.
- Acting idly or unconcernedly; careless; indifferent.
- Slothful; given to rest and ease; averse to labor; lazy: as, an idle fellow.
- Wandering in mind; light-headed: an occasional use in old plays.
- n. Idleness; indolence.
- n. An indolent person.
- To spend or waste time in inaction or without employment.
- To spend in idleness; waste: generally followed by away: as, to idle away time.
- Of machinery, doing no direct work; merely changing the direction of motion: as, an idle gear; also, running merely to carry transmission-elements: as, an idle pulley (which see).
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- adj. lacking a sense of restraint or responsibility
- adj. not in action or at work
- adj. not having a job
- adj. not yielding a return
- v. be idle; exist in a changeless situation
- v. run disconnected or idle
- adj. without a basis in reason or fact
- adj. not in active use
- n. the state of an engine or other mechanism that is idling
- adj. silly or trivial
Middle English idel, from Old English īdel.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Old English īdel, from West Germanic *īdla-. Cognate with Dutch ijdel ("vain"), German eitel ("bare, worthless"). (Wiktionary)