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idle

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adjective idle pronunciation in British English /ˈaɪd(ə)l/ 
Word Forms
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adjectiveidle
comparativeidler
superlativeidlest
  1. 1
    machines or factories that are idle are not being used

    The extra power stations are idle when demand is lower.

    stand/lie/sit idle:

    Valuable machinery is left to lie idle for long periods.

    1. a.
      workers who are idle have no work

      Many men were made idle as the mills closed down.

      Synonyms and related words for this sense of idle
  2. 2
    lazy

    Get upstairs and wake up that idle brother of yours.

    You're just bone idle, the lot of you.

    1. a.
      [often in negatives] not doing anything, when there are things that you should do

      Don't worry. I have not been idle while you were away.

      This country will not remain idle if its friends are attacked.

  3. 3
    [only before noun] without a good reason or real purpose

    It was only from idle curiosity that she opened the book.

    idle chatter/gossip

  4. 4
    not really intended or not likely to have any result
    idle threat:

    It didn't sound like an idle threat to me (=it was a real threat).

phrases

derived word

idleness

noun [uncountable]
Synonyms and related words for this sense of idle

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