1 not in action or at work; "an idle laborer"; "idle drifters"; "the idle rich"; "an idle mind" [ant: busy]
2 without a basis in reason or fact; "baseless gossip"; "the allegations proved groundless"; "idle fears"; "unfounded suspicions"; "unwarranted jealousy" [syn: baseless, groundless, unfounded, unwarranted]
3 not in active use; "the machinery sat idle during the strike"; "idle hands" [syn: unused]
4 silly or trivial; "idle pleasure"; "light banter"; "light idle chatter" [syn: light]
5 lacking a sense of restraint or responsibility; "idle talk"; "a loose tongue" [syn: loose]
6 not yielding a return; "dead capital"; "idle funds" [syn: dead]
7 not having a job; "idle carpenters"; "jobless transients"; "many people in the area were out of work" [syn: jobless, out of work]
2 be idle; exist in a changeless situation; "The old man sat and stagnated on his porch"; "He slugged in bed all morning" [syn: laze, slug, stagnate] [ant: work]
EtymologyOld English īdel, from West Germanic *īdla-. Cognate with Dutch ijdel ‘unimportant’, German eitel ‘bare, worthless’.
- , /ˈaɪd(ə)l/, /"aId(@)l/
- Rhymes with: -aɪdəl
- Empty, vacant.
- Not turned to appropriate use; not
- idle hours
- Not engaged in any occupation or employment; unemployed; inactive; doing nothing.
- idle workmen
- Averse to work, labor or employment; lazy; slothful.
- an idle fellow
- Of no importance;
useless; worthless; vain; trifling; thoughtless; silly.
- an idle story; idle talk; idle rumor
not turned to appropriate use, not occupied
- Portuguese: vazio, inapropriado, desocupado
not engaged in any occupation or employment
- Bulgarian: незает
- Chinese: 闲 (xián)
- Dutch: nietsdoend
- Finnish: joutilas, toimeton
- French: oisif
- German: müßig
- Hungarian: tétlen
- Italian: ozioso, disoccupato
- Japanese: 暇な (ひまな, hima na)
- Korean: 게으른 (geeureun)
- Portuguese: ocioso, desocupado, desempregado
- Russian: незанятый (nezánjatyj)
- Spanish: ocioso
- Swedish: overksam
averse to work or labor
- Finnish: laiska
- French: inactif
- Portuguese: preguiçoso, vagabundo
of no importance, worthless, useless
- Finnish: joutava
- Portuguese: inútil, imprestável, vão
to spend in idleness, to waste
to lose or spend time doing nothing
- French: fainéanter
- For other meanings, including people named Idle, see Idle (disambiguation).
Idle is a term which generally refers to a lack of motion and/or energy.
UsesIn describing a person or machine, idle means the act of doing nothing or no work (for example: Adolfo Dias is an idle person). This a person who spends his days doing nothing of relative importance could be said to be "idly passing his days." A computer processor or communication circuit is described as idle when it is not being used by any program, application or message. See available line. Similarly, an engine of an automobile may be described as idle when it is running only to sustain its running (not doing any useful work), this is also called tickover (See idle speed). In Canada you can get a fine for idleing in your car for a certain amount of time, depending on the city you are in. Occupying a chat room while performing another activity and saying little or nothing is known as idling. The word idle is also used on the program AIM describing the status of buddies not showing any activity at their computer. Idle is also a small village in West Yorkshire with the Famous Idle working Men's Club of which Michael Jackson is a member. Idle can also be used when calling someone "Idle" in a different manner to the first definition. Many people have described idleness as "multiple emotions combining, anger, boredom etc, to make one Idle."
Idleness as dependent upon cultural norms
Typically, when one describes a machine as idle, it is an objective statement regarding its current state. However, when used to describe a person, idle typically carries a negative connotation, with the assumption that the person is wasting their time by doing nothing of value. Such a view is reflected in the proverb "an idle mind is the devil´s workshop". This interpretation of idleness is not universal - it is more typically associated with Western cultures. Other cultures believe that simply being (doing nothing) has its own value, and they may also reject the West's definition of what is nothing and what is not.
Books on Idleness
The state of being idle is sometimes even celebrated with a few books on the subject of Idleness. How to Be Idle by Tom Hodgkinson is one such example from an author who is also known for his magazine - "The Idler", devoted to promoting its ethos of "idle living". Nobel Laureate Bertrand Russell's In Praise of Idleness; And other essays http://www.zpub.com/notes/idle.html is another book that explores the virtues of being idle in the modern society.
Mitchell Stevens has published a small mini-series magazine entitled "How idle are you?" which goes over basic idle concepts. (Source: North Shore Times Advertiser)
Mark Slouka published his essay, "Quitting the Paint Factory: The Virtues of Idleness" http://adamantine.wordpress.com/stuff/quitting-the-paint-factory-by-mark-slouka/ in the November 2004 Harper's Magazine, hinting at a post-scarcity economy, and linking conscious busy-ness with antidemocratic and fascist tendencies.
idle in German: Müßiggang
idle in French: Oisiveté
idle in Japanese: アイドリング
idle in Dutch: Idle time
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