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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.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(Automotive Engineering) (of an engine) running at low speed with the transmission disengaged
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.idling - having no employmentidling - having no employment      
inactivity - being inactive; being less active
dolce far niente - carefree idleness
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


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.
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002
References in periodicals archive ?
But yesterday, he claimed that Bright Blue recently proposed higher fines for engine idling, and that citizens can report those idling to the police.
Engine idling may soon be banned following the ordinance passed by the City Council on first reading last Tuesday.
The fix is not mechanical but involves uploading software via a port on the vehicles to lower the idling rate of the engine.
I don't think anyone wants to idle just to be idling; they do it because we have to provide those creature comforts," Mike Jeffress, vice president of maintenance for Maverick Transportation, said.
Besides, engine idling is also harmful for the environment and can even pose a fire risk at fuel service stations.
Soon, drivers who leave their engines idling when they park in San Juan City will be slapped a fine of P1,000.
Similar schemes have already been adopted by Norwich, Wirral and Reading councils plus the London boroughs of Camden and Southwark, and take the form of an on-the-spot fine for drivers who leave their engines running while idling.
Westminster City Council has already introduced no-idling zones, with officers able to issue motorists with an PS80 Penalty Charge Notice if they leave their engines idling when they park up.
In an announcement Friday, Tesla Motors said it is imposing an idling fee to car owners who leave their fully charged vehicles at charging spots on its Supercharger network.
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.