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adj. i·dler, i·dlest
a. Not employed or busy: idle carpenters. See Synonyms at inactive.
b. Disinclined to work or be active; lazy: "a man who could seem idle, ignorant, even incompetent, yet was able to understand and to express ... the instincts, good and bad, of the American majority" (Godfrey Hodgson).
c. Not in use or operation: idle hands; idle mills.
d. Sports Not scheduled to play a game: Both teams played today but will be idle tomorrow.
2. Being a period of time in which there is little or no activity: passed idle hours watching TV.
3. Lacking substance, value, or basis: idle speculation; idle threats. See Synonyms at baseless, vain.
v. i·dled, i·dling, i·dles
1. To pass time without being engaged in purposeful activity: "The girls idled all day long, sending their tinkling laughter flowing up and down the street" (Alai).
2. To move slowly or without purpose: "I drove past the workshop ... I idled along the driveway past the pole fence ... to Tyhee Road" (Tom Spanbauer).
3. To run at a slow speed or out of gear. Used of a motor or motor vehicle.
1. To pass (time) without doing anything: idle the afternoon away.
2. To make or cause to be unemployed or inactive: layoffs that idled 1,000 factory workers; a plant that was idled by a strike.
3. To cause (a motor, for example) to idle.
1. A state of idling. Used of a motor vehicle: an engine running quietly at idle.
2. A mechanism for regulating the speed at which an engine runs at rest: set the idle higher to keep the motor from stalling.

[Middle English idel, from Old English īdel.]

i′dle·ness n.
i′dler (īd′lər) n.
i′dly adv.


(Automotive Engineering) (of an engine) running at low speed with the transmission disengaged
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.idling - having no employmentidling - having no employment      
inactivity - being inactive; being less active
dolce far niente - carefree idleness


1. loafing, resting, drifting, pottering, taking it easy, dawdling I'm not very good at idling.
1. failing, declining, tiring, sinking, flagging, fading, slowing down, deteriorating, faltering, wilting, waning, ebbing She attempted to jumpstart her idling singing career.
References in periodicals archive ?
With major reductions in emissions coming to the on-highway market in 2007, and nonroad equipment soon after that, the air quality, benefits associated with reducing idling from new vehicles and equipment are going to decline significantly," said Joseph Suchecki of the Engine Manufacturers Association (EMA).
company has reduced vehicle idling and therefore reduced diesel emissions, and paid an $18,000 penalty as part of a settlement with the U.
Idling the engine to heat and cool the truck can cost as much as a gallon of fuel per hour.
Idling refers to running a vehicle's engine when the vehicle is not in motion.
92% recognized that No Idling reduced harmful air pollution.
With the cold weather gripping much of the nation, thousands of drivers are starting their cars and leaving them idling for a few minutes while they warm up on these frigid mornings, but police say it's a bad idea because it creates a crime of opportunity for thieves.
Coal mine idling for the Virginia-based company will most likely continue.
The Work Truck No Idle Heat System from Idle Free Systems, claims to offer up to eight hours of interior cab heat with the truck engine turned off, eliminating unnecessary workday idling.
Children's Hospital researcher Patrick Ryan believes he's nailed down the source: idling cars and school buses.
Diesel idling has also been identified as a significant factor in levels of elemental carbon near schools (Richmond-Bryant, Saganich, Bukieqicz, & Kalin, 2009).
Last year, as fuel prices began to rise again, the company had Road Angel fitted to the rest of its fleet - and looked to make additional savings on fuel costs by getting driver totals for idling time which could be converted into actual cost per driver.
Broadband Internet provider FairPoint Communications (NASDAQ: FRP) said it has cut emissions and fuel use in the past year from efforts to curb idling in its fleet of work vehicles.