[ ahyd-ler ]
See synonyms for idler on
  1. a person who passes time in a lazy or unproductive way.

  2. Machinery. an idle gear, wheel, or pulley.

  1. Railroads. an empty freight car placed under the projecting end of a long object carried by the next car, so that the latter can be connected with another part of the train.

  2. Nautical. day man (def. 2).

Origin of idler

First recorded in 1525–35; idle + -er1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use idler in a sentence

  • We idlers had permission granted us to land and visit the town, in which, however, we found but little to admire.

  • A little crowd of idlers that had gathered was quickly augmenting now, and from some there came a cry of "Shame!"

    St. Martin's Summer | Rafael Sabatini
  • Some idlers of the town were the only witnesses—and little did they guess the extent of the tragedy they were witnessing.

    Mistress Wilding | Rafael Sabatini
  • Buddhism failed to ennoble the daily occupations of life, and produced drones and idlers and religious vagabonds.

  • The notion was simply that the young idlers about town met together to acquire perfection in the arts of bombast and exaggeration.

British Dictionary definitions for idler


/ (ˈaɪdlə) /

  1. a person who idles

  2. another name for idle pulley, idle wheel

  1. nautical a ship's crew member, such as a carpenter, sailmaker, etc, whose duties do not include standing regular watches

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012