Definition of twiddle in English:


Syllabification: twid·dle
Pronunciation: /ˈtwidl


[with object]
  • 1Twist, move, or fiddle with (something), typically in a purposeless or nervous way: she twiddled the dials on the radio [no object]: he began twiddling with the curtain cord
    More example sentences
    • My dad started, twiddling his fingers nervously.
    • I slouch down in my seat, twiddling my fingers nervously.
    • She was nervously twiddling a pen between her fingers.
    turn, twist, swivel, twirl; adjust, move, jiggle; fiddle with, play with
  • 1.1 [no object] archaic Turn or move in a twirling way.


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  • An act of twisting or fiddling with something: one twiddle of a button
    More example sentences
    • The evolutionists just give the knobs of the ‘mechanism’ a twiddle here and there to ‘explain’ the data.
    • With darker or lighter, this is easily done at the twiddle of a knob.


twiddle one's thumbs

Rotate one’s thumbs around each other with the fingers linked together.
More example sentences
  • ‘Well, you followed me,’ Trent pointed out with a smile, twiddling his thumbs together as he made himself more comfortable on the ground.
  • ‘He says some b-b-bad things to me sometimes,’ Jamie said twiddling his thumbs together nervously.
  • She began twiddling her thumbs together and staring at the wall ahead of her.
Be bored or idle because one has nothing to do.
More example sentences
  • Everyone sat around looking embarrassed and twiddling their thumbs as usual.
  • If I didn't come here in the night, I'd be sitting around at home, twiddling my thumbs and thinking about going to a real bar.
  • All that sitting around twiddling my thumbs, and pretty soon even the dishes seemed like an interesting option.
be idle, do nothing, kill time, waste time, hang around, stand/sit around
informal futz around



Pronunciation: /ˈtwidlər, ˈtwidl-ər/
More example sentences
  • The production is functional but uninspiring, the knob - twiddlers unwilling to sail into any waters that might look dangerous or - perish the thought - exciting.
  • Every single news organisation is critical of him and his band of thumb twiddlers.
  • The result is a very creative album that effectively blends the sounds of two obviously talented knob twiddlers - experts, even.


Pronunciation: /ˈtwidlē, ˈtwidl-ē/
More example sentences
  • Could you just sing the tune of the hymn rather than the hundred and fifty-seven little twiddly bits?
  • I had a peek at the control panel on the camera while the radiologist was out looking at the first set of snaps: huge, chunky, twiddly dials that looked as though they came from the first nuclear power plant.
  • He can get a bit boring, because over and over again, it's the same tune with more twiddly bits.


mid 16th century (in the sense 'trifle'): apparently imitative, combining the notion twirl or twist with that of trifling action expressed by fiddle.

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