1. Of no account; useless; vain; trifling; unprofitable; thoughtless; silly; barren. Deserts idle. Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. (Matt. Xii. 36) 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. (Milton)
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 labour or employment; lazy; slothful; as, an idle fellow.
5. Light-headed; foolish. Idle pulley, 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. God saith, thou shalt not take the name of thy lord god in idle.
Synonym: Unoccupied, unemployed, vacant, inactive, indolent, sluggish, slothful, useless, ineffectual, futile, frivolous, vain, trifling, unprofitable, unimportant.
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 continuou
s exertion. Lazy is a stronger and more contemptuous term than indolent.
Origin: oe. Idel, as. Idel vain, empty, useless; akin to os. Idal, D. Ijdel, OHG. Ital vain, empty, mere, g. Eitel, dan. & Sw. Idel mere, pure, and prob. To gr. Clear, pure, to burn. Cf. Ether.