Definition of idle in English:


Line breaks: idle
Pronunciation: /ˈʌɪd(ə)l

adjective (idler, idlest)

  • 3(Of money) held in cash or in accounts paying no interest.
    More example sentences
    • As treasurer of EMC, the data storage company, she puts a chunk of her company's idle cash into money funds nearly every day.
    • Gold prices overseas have been rising as a large amount of idle money flowed into the gold markets worldwide due to the weak dollar.
    • Only ultra-wealthy geeks like Allen, who have the interest and the idle cash, can afford to put millions at risk.


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  • 2(Of an engine) run slowly while disconnected from a load or out of gear: Nadine kept the engine idling
    More example sentences
    • A line of cars clogs the tree-lined street, engines idling in the sun.
    • Anthony sighed, leaving the car engine idling.
    • With that capability, a car's engine could be automatically shut off at stoplights, or any time the engine is idling for any length of time.
    tick over, run slowly in neutral
  • 2.1 [with object] Cause (an engine) to idle.
    More example sentences
    • He pulled up hard into the vertical and idled the engines, diminishing any heat source from the F - 22.
    • Under the proposed bylaw, drivers would be fined $100 for idling their engines for more than three minutes.


Old English īdel 'empty, useless', of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch ijdel 'vain, frivolous, useless' and German eitel 'bare, worthless'.

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