twiddle

[ twid-l ]
/ ˈtwɪd l /

verb (used with object), twid·dled, twid·dling.

to turn about or play with lightly or idly, especially with the fingers; twirl.

verb (used without object), twid·dled, twid·dling.

to play or trifle idly with something; fiddle.
to turn about lightly; twirl.

noun

the act of twiddling; turn; twirl.

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Idioms for twiddle

    twiddle one's thumbs, to do nothing; be idle: Business was slack, and the salespeople were twiddling their thumbs.

Origin of twiddle

1530–40; perhaps blend of twitch and fiddle

OTHER WORDS FROM twiddle

twid·dler, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

British Dictionary definitions for twiddle one's thumbs

twiddle
/ (ˈtwɪdəl) /

verb

(when intr, often foll by with) to twirl or fiddle (with), often in an idle way
to do nothing; be unoccupied
(intr) to turn, twirl, or rotate
(intr) rare to be occupied with trifles

noun

an act or instance of twiddling

Derived forms of twiddle

twiddler, noun

Word Origin for twiddle

C16: probably a blend of twirl + fiddle
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

Idioms and Phrases with twiddle one's thumbs

twiddle one's thumbs

Be bored or idle, as in There I sat for three hours, twiddling my thumbs, while he made call after call. This expression alludes to the habit of idly turning one's thumbs about one another during a period of inactivity. [Mid-1800s]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.