Origin of idler
- not working or active; unemployed; doing nothing: idle workers.
- not spent or filled with activity: idle hours.
- not in use or operation; not kept busy: idle machinery.
- habitually doing nothing or avoiding work; lazy.
- of no real worth, importance, or significance: idle talk.
- having no basis or reason; baseless; groundless: idle fears.
- frivolous; vain: idle pleasures.
- meaningless; senseless: idle threats.
- futile; unavailing: idle rage.
- to pass time doing nothing.
- to move, loiter, or saunter aimlessly: to idle along the avenue.
- (of a machine, engine, or mechanism) to operate at a low speed, disengaged from the load.
- to pass (time) doing nothing (often followed by away): to idle away the afternoon.
- to cause (a person) to be idle: The strike idled many workers.
- to cause (a machine, engine, or mechanism) to idle: I waited in the car while idling the engine.
- the state or quality of being idle.
- the state of a machine, engine, or mechanism that is idling: a cold engine that stalls at idle.
Origin of idle
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for idler
Labour is not only a necessity and a duty, but a blessing: only the idler feels it to be a curse.
Fowell learnt very little at school, and was regarded as a dunce and an idler.
He was like an idler basking in the sun, conscious of nothing but just the warmth and comfort of it.Jan and Her Job
L. Allen Harker
A likable chap, this Thorpe, but lazy—just an idler—he had concluded.
Garry was now the young Laird, and I was but an idler, a burden on the estate.The Trail of '98
Robert W. Service
- unemployed or unoccupied; inactive
- not operating or being used
- (of money) not being used to earn interest or dividends
- not wanting to work; lazy
- (usually prenominal) frivolous or trivialidle pleasures
- ineffective or powerless; fruitless; vain
- without basis; unfounded
- (when tr, often foll by away) to waste or pass (time) fruitlessly or inactivelyhe idled the hours away
- (intr) to loiter or move aimlessly
- (intr) (of a shaft, engine, etc) to turn without doing useful work
- (intr) (of an engine) to run at low speed with the transmission disengagedAlso (Brit): tick over
- (tr) US and Canadian to cause to be inactive or unemployed
Word Origin and History for idler
1530s, agent noun from idle.
Old English idel "empty, void; vain; worthless, useless; not employed," common West Germanic (cf. Old Saxon idal, Old Frisian idel "empty, worthless," Old Dutch idil, Old High German ital, German eitel "vain, useless, mere, pure"), of unknown origin. Idle threats preserves original sense; meaning "lazy" is c.1300.
late 15c., "make vain or worthless," from idle (adj.). Meaning "spend or waste (time)" is from 1650s. Meaning "cause to be idle" is from 1789. Sense of "running slowly and steadily without transmitting power" (as a motor) first recorded 1916. Related: Idled; idling.