From Middle English idel, ydel, from Old English īdel, from Proto-Germanic *īdalaz. Cognate with Dutch ijdel (“vain, meaningless”), German Low German iedel (“vain, idle”), German eitel (“vain, conceited”), and possibly Old Norse illr ("bad"; > English ill).
idle (comparative more idle, superlative most idle)
- (obsolete) Empty, vacant.
- Not being used appropriately; not occupied; (of time) with no, no important, or not much activity.
- Not engaged in any occupation or employment; unemployed; inactive; doing nothing in particular.
- Averse to work, labor or employment; lazy; slothful.
- Of no importance; useless; worthless; vain; trifling; thoughtless; silly.
- (obsolete) Light-headed; foolish.
idle (third-person singular simple present idles, present participle idling, simple past and past participle idled)
- (transitive) To spend in idleness; to waste; to consume.
- (intransitive) To lose or spend time doing nothing, or without being employed in business.
- (intransitive) Of an engine: to run at a slow speed, or out of gear; to tick over.
idle (plural idles)
- (gaming) An idle animation.
- (gaming) An idle game.