adj.1. not working or active; unemployed; doing nothing: idle workers.2. not spent or filled with activity: idle hours.3. not in use or operation; not kept busy: idle machinery.4. habitually doing nothing or avoiding work; lazy.5. of no real worth, importance, or significance: idle talk.6. having no basis or reason; baseless; groundless: idle fears.7. frivolous; vain: idle pleasures.8. meaningless; senseless: idle threats.9. futile; unavailing: idle rage.v.i.10. to pass time doing nothing.11. to move, loiter, or saunter aimlessly: to idle along the avenue.12. (of a machine, engine, or mechanism) to operate at a low speed, disengaged from the load.v.t.14. to cause (a person) to be idle: The strike idled many workers.15. to cause (a machine, engine, or mechanism) to idle: I waited in the car while idling the engine.n.16. the state or quality of being idle.17. the state of a machine, engine, or mechanism that is idling: a cold engine that stalls at idle.[bef. 900; 1915-20 for def. 12; ME, OE idel (adj.) empty, trifling, vain, useless; c. G eitel]Syn. 1. sluggish. IDLE, INDOLENT, LAZY, SLOTHFUL apply to a person who is not active. To be IDLE is to be inactive or not working at a job. The word is sometimes derogatory, but not always, since one may be relaxing temporarily or may be idle through necessity: pleasantly idle on a vacation; to be idle because one is unemployed or because supplies are lacking.The INDOLENT person is naturally disposed to avoid exertion: indolent and slow in movement; an indolent and contented fisherman. The LAZY person is averse to exertion or work, and esp. to continued application; the word is usually derogatory: too lazy to earn a living; incurably lazy. SLOTHFUL denotes a reprehensible unwillingness to carry one's share of the burden: so slothful as to be a burden on others. 5. worthless, trivial, trifling. 7. wasteful. 11. See loiter. 13. waste.Ant. 1. busy, industrious. 5. important, worthwhile.
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