Etymology: Middle English idel, from Old English īdel; akin to Old High German ītal worthless
Date: before 12th century
1. lacking worth or basis ; vain <idle chatter> <idle pleasure> 2. not occupied or employed: as a. having no employment ; inactive <idle workers> b. not turned to normal or appropriate use <idle funds> <idle farmland> c. not scheduled to compete <the team will be idle tomorrow> 3. a. shiftless, lazy b. having no evident lawful means of support Synonyms: see vain, inactive • idleness noun • idly adverb II. verb (idled; idling) Date: 1592 intransitive verb 1. a. to spend time in idleness b. to move idly 2. to run at low power and often disconnected usually so that power is not used for useful work <the engine is idling> transitive verb 1. to pass in idleness 2. to make idle <workers idled by a strike> 3. to cause to idle • idler noun Synonyms: idle, loaf, lounge, loll, laze mean to spend time doing nothing. idle may be used in reference to persons that move lazily or without purpose <idled the day away>. loaf suggests either resting or wandering about as though there were nothing to do <she does her work and then loafs the rest of the day>. lounge, though occasionally used as equal to idle or loaf, typically conveys an additional implication of resting or reclining against a support or of physical comfort and ease in relaxation <he lounged against the wall>. loll also carries an implication of a posture similar to that of lounge, but places greater stress upon an indolent or relaxed attitude <lolling on the couch>. laze usually implies the relaxation of a busy person enjoying a vacation or moments of leisure <lazed about between appointments>.
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.