idle Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo

Meaning of “idle” in the English Dictionary

"idle" in British English

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idleadjective

uk   us   /ˈaɪ.dl̩/
  • 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   us   /-nəs/

idleverb [I]

uk   us   /ˈaɪ.dl̩/ (UK also tick over)
If an ​engine or ​machine idles, it ​runsslowly but does not ​move or do any ​work: He ​left the ​engine idling and ​ran into the ​shop.
Phrasal verbs
(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 ​spareparts. 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   us   /ˈaɪdl/
PRODUCTION, WORKPLACE not ​operating or not being used: stand/lie/remain idle As more ​factories in the city ​stood idle, ​workersstartedleaving.
FINANCE used to describe ​assets that are not ​earningmoney or ​interest, or not ​earning enough: If you've got a few thousand ​pounds lying idle in a ​savingsaccount, ​think about ​paying off ​part of your ​mortgage or ​creditcarddebts.idle cash/capital/funds These idle ​funds can be ​invested on the ​moneymarket.
HR, WORKPLACE unemployed, or not ​working on a ​job: More than 22,913 ​assemblyworkers remained idle because of continued ​shortages of ​importedparts.

idleverb [T]

uk   us   /ˈaɪdl/ 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 ​demandforced 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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