I"dle (?), a. [Compar. Idler (?); superl. Idlest.] [OE. idel, AS. īdel vain, empty, useless; akin to OS. īdal, D. ijdel, OHG. ītal vain, empty, mere, G. eitel, Dan. & Sw. idel mere, pure, and prob. to Gr. ? clear, pure, ? to burn. Cf. Ether.] 1. Of no account; useless; vain; trifling; unprofitable; thoughtless; silly; barren. "Deserts idle." Shak.

Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
Matt. xii. 36.

Down their idle weapons dropped.

This idle story became important.

2. Not called into active service; not turned to appropriate use; unemployed; as, idle hours.

The idle spear and shield were high uphing.

3. Not employed; unoccupied with business; inactive; doing nothing; as, idle workmen.

Why stand ye here all the day idle?
Matt. xx. 6.

4. Given rest and ease; averse to labor or employment; lazy; slothful; as, an idle fellow.

5. Light-headed; foolish. [Obs.] Ford.

Idle pulley (Mach.), a pulley that rests upon a belt to tighten it; a pulley that only guides a belt and is not used to transmit power. -- Idle wheel (Mach.), a gear wheel placed between two others, to transfer motion from one to the other without changing the direction of revolution. -- In idle, in vain. [Obs.] "God saith, thou shalt not take the name of thy Lord God in idle." Chaucer.

Syn. -- Unoccupied; unemployed; vacant; inactive; indolent; sluggish; slothful; useless; ineffectual; futile; frivolous; vain; trifling; unprofitable; unimportant. -- Idle, Indolent, Lazy. A propensity to inaction is expressed by each of these words; they differ in the cause and degree of this characteristic. Indolent denotes an habitual love to ease, a settled dislike of movement or effort; idle is opposed to busy, and denotes a dislike of continuous exertion. Lazy is a stronger and more contemptuous term than indolent.

I"dle, v. i. [imp. & p. p. Idled (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Idling (?).] To lose or spend time in inaction, or without being employed in business. Shak.

I"dle, v. t. To spend in idleness; to waste; to consume; -- often followed by away; as, to idle away an hour a day.