idle Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo
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Meaning of “idle” in the English Dictionary

"idle" in British English

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idleadjective

uk   /ˈaɪ.dəl/ us   /ˈaɪ.dəl/
  • idle adjective (NOT WORKING)

C1 not working or being used: Half these factories now stand idle. It's crazy to have £7,000 sitting idle in the bank.
An idle moment or period of time is one in which there is no work or activity: If you have an idle moment, call me.
without work: Almost half of the workforce are now idle.
Synonym
idleness
noun [U] uk   /ˈaɪ.dəl.nəs/ us   /ˈaɪ.dəl.nəs/

idleverb [I]

uk   /ˈaɪ.dəl/ us   /ˈaɪ.dəl/ UK also tick over
(Definition of idle from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"idle" in American English

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idleadjective

us   /ˈɑɪ·dəl/
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] us   /ˈɑɪ·dəl·nəs/
idly
adverb us   /ˈɑɪd·li, -əl·i/
I will not stand idly by while my business is being destroyed.

idleverb [I]

us   /ˈɑɪd·əl/
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)

"idle" in Business English

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idleadjective

uk   /ˈaɪdl/ us  
PRODUCTION, WORKPLACE not operating or not being used: stand/lie/remain idle As more factories in the city stood idle, workers started leaving.
FINANCE used to describe assets that are not earning money or interest, or not earning enough: If you've got a few thousand pounds lying idle in a savings account, think about paying off part of your mortgage or credit card debts.idle cash/capital/funds These idle funds can be invested on the money market.
HR, WORKPLACE unemployed, or not working on a job: More than 22,913 assembly workers remained idle because of continued shortages of imported parts.

idleverb [T]

uk   /ˈaɪdl/ us   US
PRODUCTION, HR to stop using your employees, factory, machines etc., for example because you do not have enough work for them to do: Lack of demand forced the automaker to idle two more plants on Monday.
(Definition of idle from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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“idle” in American English

“idle” in Business English

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Avoiding common errors with the word enough.
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