Dictionary.com
QUIZ
CAN YOU ANSWER THESE COMMON GRAMMAR DEBATES?
There are grammar debates that never die; and the ones highlighted in the questions in this quiz are sure to rile everyone up once again. Do you know how to answer the questions that cause some of the greatest grammar debates?
Question 1 of 7
Which sentence is correct?

Origin of idle

First recorded before 900, and in 1915鈥20 for def. 12; Middle English, Old English 墨del (adjective) 鈥渆mpty, trifling, vain, useless鈥; cognate with German eitel

synonym study for idle

1. Idle, indolent, lazy, slothful apply to a person who is not active. To be idle is to be inactive or not working at a job. The word is sometimes derogatory, but not always, since one may be relaxing temporarily or may be idle through necessity: pleasantly idle on a vacation; to be idle because one is unemployed or because supplies are lacking. The indolent person is naturally disposed to avoid exertion: indolent and slow in movement; an indolent and contented fisherman. The lazy person is averse to exertion or work, and especially to continued application; the word is usually derogatory: too lazy to earn a living; incurably lazy. Slothful denotes a reprehensible unwillingness to carry one's share of the burden: so slothful as to be a burden on others. 11. See loiter.

historical usage of idle

The English adjective idle comes from Old English 墨del, originally meaning 鈥渆mpty鈥 and also 鈥渦seless, worthless.鈥 The sense (used of people) 鈥渦nemployed, out of work鈥 dates from the 10th century. The rather harsher meaning 鈥渁voiding work, lazy, indolent鈥 dates from the 14th century.
One of the senses of the verb idle, 鈥渢o spend one鈥檚 time doing nothing,鈥 dates from the 17th century and is first recorded in Samuel Pepys鈥 Diary.
The mechanical sense, used of a motor or engine disengaged from its load and operating at a low speed, dates from the 20th century.

OTHER WORDS FROM idle

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH idle

idle , idol, idyll
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, 漏 Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use idle in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for idle

idle
/ (藞a瑟dl) /

adjective
verb

Derived forms of idle

idleness, nounidly, adverb

Word Origin for idle

Old English 墨del; compare Old High German 墨tal empty, vain
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition 漏 William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 漏 HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
FEEDBACK