Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “idle”

idle

verb
 
 
/ˈaɪdl/
ENGINE [I] If an engine or machine idles, it runs slowly but does not move or do any work: He left the engine idling and ran into the shop.FunctioningPerforming a function
STOP WORKING [T] US to stop someone or something working or being used, often because there is not enough work to do: The closure of the factory idled about 300 workers.Passive and not working
TIME [I] to spend time doing nothing: We saw her idling in the school grounds.Passive and not working
(Definition of idle verb from the Cambridge Learners Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “idle” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

scrumpy

an alcoholic drink made from apples

Word of the Day

Blog

Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More