Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “idle”

See all translations

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?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

“idle” in American English

Definitions of “idle” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

thug

a man who acts violently, especially to commit a crime

Word of the Day

The way we move (Verbs for walking and running)

by Kate Woodford,
March 25, 2015
​​​ This week we’re looking at interesting ways to describe the way that people move. Most of the verbs that we’ll be considering describe how fast or slow people move. Others describe the attitude or state of mind of the person walking or running. Some describe both. Starting with verbs for walking slowly,

Read More 

crossfit noun

March 23, 2015
high-intensity strength training Two women in strappy dresses discussed how much weight they could snatch

Read More