idle Definition

  • 1not working or being used
  • 2not having any real purpose or value
  • 3not active or busy

Using idle: Examples

Take a moment to familiarize yourself with how "idle" can be used in various situations through the following examples!

  • Example

    The factory has been idle for years.

  • Example

    He was idle all day and didn't do anything productive.

  • Example

    She left her car idle while she went into the store.

  • Example

    The engine was idling smoothly.

idle Synonyms and Antonyms

Phrases with idle

  • people who have nothing to do often get into trouble or mischief


    I always make sure to keep myself busy; idle hands are the devil's workshop.

  • idle talk

    gossip or conversation that is not important or meaningful


    I don't want to hear any more idle talk about my personal life.

  • a threat that is not meant to be carried out


    He made an idle threat to quit his job, but he never actually did it.

Origins of idle

from Old English 'īdel', meaning 'empty, useless'


Summary: idle in Brief

The term 'idle' [ˈaɪdl] describes something that is not working or being used, lacks purpose or value, or is not active or busy. Examples include 'The factory has been idle for years,' and 'He was idle all day and didn't do anything productive.' The phrase 'idle hands are the devil's workshop' warns against the dangers of boredom, while 'idle talk' refers to meaningless conversation.