Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “idle”

idle

adjective  /ˈɑɪ·dəl/ us  
not working, not active, or doing nothing: idle factories The machines are standing idle because there are no spare parts. Idle also means not useful or not based on fact: idle speculation
idleness
noun [U]  /ˈɑɪ·dəl·nəs/ us  
idly
adverb  /ˈɑɪd·li, -əl·i/ us  
I will not stand idly by while my business is being destroyed.

idle

verb [I]  /ˈɑɪd·əl/ us  
If an engine idles, it is operating but not doing any work: Let the engine idle for a minute before you put the car in gear.
(Definition of idle from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of idle?
Browse related topics

You are looking at an entry to do with Laziness and lazy people, but you might be interested in these topics from the Working topic area:

Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

“idle” in American English

Definitions of “idle” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

dawn on sb

If a fact dawns on you, you understand it after a period of not understanding it.

Word of the Day

Highly delighted, bitterly disappointed, ridiculously cheap: adverbs for emphasis.

by Liz Walter,
October 22, 2014
We often make adjectives stronger by putting an adverb in front of them. The most common ones are very and, for a stronger meaning, extremely: He was very pleased. The ship is extremely large. However, we don’t use very or extremely for adjectives that already have a strong meaning, for example fantastic,

Read More 

life tracking noun

October 20, 2014
the use of one or more devices or apps to monitor health, exercise, how time is spent, etc.

Read More