idle Definition in Cambridge British English Dictionary
Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

Definition of "idle" - British English Dictionary

See all translations

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

idle adjective (NO PURPOSE)

C2 [before noun] without any particular purpose: idle chatter/gossip/speculation an idle glance This is no idle threat.

idle adjective (LAZY)

C2 UK lazy and not willing to work: He's a very able student, he's just bone idle (= very lazy).
idleness
noun [U] uk   us   /-nəs/

idleverb [I]

uk   us   /ˈaɪ.dl̩/ (UK also tick over)
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.
Phrasal verbs
(Definition of idle from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of idle?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “idle” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day
field event

a sports event in which athletes take part one after the other rather than racing or competing together

Word of the Day

Are you a glass-half-full person? (Everyday Idioms)
Are you a glass-half-full person? (Everyday Idioms)
by Kate Woodford,
July 29, 2015
A reader of this blog recently asked for a post on idioms that are used in everyday English. This seemed like a reasonable request. After all, if you are going to make the effort to learn a set of English idioms, you want those idioms to be useful. The question, then, was

Read More 

exoskeleton noun
exoskeleton noun
July 27, 2015
a robotic device which goes around the legs and part of the body of a person who cannot walk and allows them to move independently and in an upright position The device, known as an exoskeleton, is strapped to the outside of a person’s limbs and can then be controlled by them.

Read More