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Synonyms of idle in English:


  • 1 an idle fellow
    [Antonyms] industrious
  • 2 ‘I was getting bored with being idle,’ she told her new employer
    British informal on the dole, signing on, ‘resting’
    Australian/New Zealand informal on the wallaby track
    [Antonyms] employed
  • 3 instead of leaving the machine idle, I sold it
    not in use, out of use, not operating, not working, inactive, out of action, inoperative, non-functioning, out of service, unused, unoccupied, unemployed;
    disused, no longer in use, fallen into disuse, mothballed
    [Antonyms] working
  • 4 they filled their idle hours with endless gossiping sessions
    [Antonyms] busy, full
  • 5 he didn't indulge in idle remarks or mere social chit-chat
    frivolous, trivial, trifling, minor, petty, foolish, lightweight, shallow, superficial, insignificant, unimportant, worthless, valueless, pointless, paltry, niggling, peripheral, without depth, inane, fatuous, senseless, meaningless, purposeless, unnecessary, time-wasting
    [Antonyms] serious, meaningful
  • 6 she was not a woman to make idle threats
    empty, meaningless, aimless, pointless, worthless, useless, vain, in vain, insubstantial, futile, ineffective, ineffectual;
    groundless, without grounds, baseless, without/lacking foundation
    [Antonyms] serious
  • verb

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  • 1 Lily idled on the window seat: she hated Sundays
    go to seed, degenerate, moulder, stagnate
    informal hang around, veg out
    North American informal bum around, bat around/about, lollygag, lay on one's oars
  • 2 the men idled their time away on street corners
    fritter, while, laze, loiter;
    pass, spend, use, employ, use up, occupy, take up, fill up, fill in, fill, beguile, expend, devote, waste, dissipate, kill
  • 3 Robert idled along the pavement
    saunter, stroll, dawdle, drift, potter, amble, go/walk slowly, loiter, maunder, wander, straggle
    informal mosey, tootle
    British informal pootle, mooch, swan
    North American informal putter
  • 4 he slowed the car at a junction, letting the engine idle
    tick over, run slowly in neutral
  • Word links

    thassophobia fear of being idle

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    idle, lazy, indolent
    See lazy
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