idle synonym, idle definition | Thesaurus

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1    dead, empty, gathering dust, inactive, jobless, mothballed, out of action or operation, out of work, redundant, stationary, ticking over, unemployed, unoccupied, unused, vacant  
2    good-for-nothing, indolent, lackadaisical, lazy, shiftless, slothful, sluggish  
3    frivolous, insignificant, irrelevant, nugatory, superficial, trivial, unhelpful, unnecessary  
4    abortive, bootless, fruitless, futile, groundless, ineffective, of no avail, otiose, pointless, unavailing, unproductive, unsuccessful, useless, vain, worthless  
5      (often with)       away   dally, dawdle, fool, fritter, hang out     (informal)   kill time, laze, loaf, loiter, lounge, potter, waste, while  
6    bob off     (Brit. slang)   coast, drift, mark time, shirk, sit back and do nothing, skive     (Brit. slang)   slack, slow down, take it easy, vegetate, veg out     (slang)  
1 & 2    active, busy, employed, energetic, functional, industrious, occupied, operative, working  
3    important, meaningful  
4    advantageous, effective, fruitful, profitable, useful, worthwhile  
English Collins Dictionary - English synonyms & Thesaurus  


  ( idles    3rd person present)   ( idling    present participle)   ( idled    past tense & past participle  )
1       adj   If people who were working are idle, they have no jobs or work.  
v-link ADJ  
Employees have been idle almost a month because of shortages.     
2       adj   If machines or factories are idle, they are not working or being used.  
v-link ADJ  
Now the machine is lying idle.     
3       adj   If you say that someone is idle, you disapprove of them because they are not doing anything and you think they should be.,   (disapproval)    ...idle bureaucrats who spent the day reading newspapers...     
  idleness      n-uncount  
Idleness is a very bad thing for human nature.     
  idly      adv   ADV with v  
We were not idly sitting around.     
4       adj   Idle is used to describe something that you do for no particular reason, often because you have nothing better to do.  
ADJ n  
Brian kept up the idle chatter for another five minutes.     
  idly      adv   ADV with v, ADV adj  
We talked idly about magazines and baseball...     
5       adj   You refer to an idle threat or boast when you do not think the person making it will or can do what they say.  
ADJ n   (=empty)  
It was more of an idle threat than anything...     
6       verb   To idle a factory or other place of work means to close it down because there is no work to do or because the workers are on strike.  
...idled assembly plants.      V-ed, Also V n  
in BRIT, usually use shut down     
7       verb   To idle workers means to stop them working.  
The strike has idled about 55,000 machinists.      V n  
in BRIT, use lay off     
8       verb   If an engine or vehicle is idling, the engine is running slowly and quietly because it is not in gear, and the vehicle is not moving.  
Beyond a stand of trees a small plane idled...      V  

Translation English Cobuild Collins Dictionary  

See also:

idler, idleness, idly, ideal

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