Definition of “idle” - English Dictionary

“idle” in English

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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.
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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us /ˈɑɪ·dəl/

not working, not active, or doing nothing:

The machines are standing idle because there are no spare parts.

Idle also means not useful or not based on fact:

idle speculation
noun [ U ] us /ˈɑɪ·dəl·nəs/
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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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)