The DICT Development Group
1 definition found
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :
Idle \I"dle\, a. [Compar. Idler; superl. Idlest.] [OE. idel,
AS. [imac]del vain, empty, useless; akin to OS. [imac]dal, D.
ijdel, OHG. [imac]tal vain, empty, mere, G. eitel, Dan. & Sw.
idel mere, pure, and prob. to Gr. ? clear, pure, ? to burn.
1. Of no account; useless; vain; trifling; unprofitable;
thoughtless; silly; barren. "Deserts idle." --Shak.
Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall
give account thereof in the day of judgment. --Matt.
Down their idle weapons dropped. --Milton.
This idle story became important. --Macaulay.
2. Not called into active service; not turned to appropriate
use; unemployed; as, idle hours.
The idle spear and shield were high uphing.
3. Not employed; unoccupied with business; inactive; doing
nothing; as, idle workmen.
Why stand ye here all the day idle? --Matt. xx. 6.
4. Given rest and ease; averse to labor or employment; lazy;
slothful; as, an idle fellow.
5. Light-headed; foolish. [Obs.] --Ford.
Idle pulley (Mach.), a pulley that rests upon a belt to
tighten it; a pulley that only guides a belt and is not
used to transmit power.
Idle wheel (Mach.), a gear wheel placed between two others,
to transfer motion from one to the other without changing
the direction of revolution.
In idle, in vain. [Obs.] "God saith, thou shalt not take
the name of thy Lord God in idle." --Chaucer.
Syn: Unoccupied; unemployed; vacant; inactive; indolent;
sluggish; slothful; useless; ineffectual; futile;
frivolous; vain; trifling; unprofitable; unimportant.
Usage: Idle, Indolent, Lazy. A propensity to inaction
is expressed by each of these words; they differ in
the cause and degree of this characteristic. Indolent
denotes an habitual love to ease, a settled dislike of
movement or effort; idle is opposed to busy, and
denotes a dislike of continuous exertion. Lazy is a
stronger and more contemptuous term than indolent.
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