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See more synonyms for idleness on Thesaurus.com
  1. the quality, state, or condition of being lazy, inactive, or idle: His lack of interest in the larger world and his consummate idleness were the causes of their dreadful divorce.
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Origin of idleness

before 1000; idle + -ness
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for idleness

torpidity, lethargy, slouch, truancy, dormancy, slothfulness, loafing, torpor, sloth, leisure, inertia, trifling, inactivity, stupor, shiftlessness, slowness, indolence, dawdling, unemployment, hibernation

Examples from the Web for idleness

Contemporary Examples of idleness

Historical Examples of idleness

  • But she did not allow herself to fall into the idleness of barren speculation.

    The Secret Agent

    Joseph Conrad

  • This idleness seemed, to me, to form the summit of human happiness.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • There were long, long days of intrenching, skirmishing and idleness.

    The Rock of Chickamauga

    Joseph A. Altsheler

  • Put aside frivolity and idleness, and apply yourself in earnest.

    The Channings

    Mrs. Henry Wood

  • All other goodness is but too often an idleness or powerlessness of will.


    Francois Duc De La Rochefoucauld

Word Origin and History for idleness


Old English idelnes "frivolity, vanity, emptiness; vain existence;" see idle + -ness. Old English expressed the idea we attach to in vain by in idelnisse. Spenser, Scott, and others use idlesse to mean the same thing in a positive, pleasant sense.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper