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
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
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.]
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
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
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.