Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

idle

 - definitions and thesaurus
Close

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Close

Thesaurus

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

more
adjective idle pronunciation in British English /ˈaɪd(ə)l/
Word Forms
Close
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.
  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

free-from

used to describe foods which don't contain ingredients such as wheat, dairy products etc …

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

red market

the buying and selling of human organs

add a word

Blog

A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog