From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishidlei·dle1 /ˈaɪdl/ ●○○ adjective 1 not working or producing anything OPP busy I cannot afford to leave the land lying idle. The whole team stood idle, waiting for the mechanic. The workers have been idle for the last six months.2 not serious, or not done with any definite intention She was not a woman to make idle threats.idle chatter/talk/gossip etc It was only from idle curiosity that she went into the barn.3 lazy Go and wake up that idle brother of yours.RegisterIdle sounds rather old-fashioned and literary. In everyday English, people usually say lazy:She's not stupid, just lazy. 4 → it is idle to do something5 → the idle rich —idleness noun [uncountable] —idly adverb They sat chatting idly. I cannot stand idly by and let him take the blame.
Examples from the Corpusidle• Why is millions of pounds worth of state-of-the-art equipment lying idle?• Almost half the skilled workers in this country are now idle.• Scientology is a cereal-box religion, and reading Ron is an idle diversion that quickly becomes annoying.• Most of the factory stood idle during the strike.• The new machines may sit idle for months until they have been paid for.• She had no time for idle gossip as she had to do all the work herself.• idle gossip• As Tallis ran towards him she thought, with idle horror, that he looked as if he was praying.• They closed a few plants and decided to use the idle machinery to make plastic chips for cigarette filters.• Doctors are not idle men, Miss Thorne, and you are a fit woman.• That husband of hers is bone idle. No wonder the house is such a mess.• Hundreds of workers sat idle on the factory floor waiting for the assembly line to start again.• Painting is a favorite hobby of the idle rich.• The factory has been idle since May.• Exactly when we might end our voyage was largely a matter of idle speculation.• Wake up that idle young brother of yours and tell him it's time for school!lying idle• Is it simply a transfer from the customer's bank account to building society account of money that was lying idle?• Millions of pounds worth of state-of-the-art equipment is lying idle.• Simple economics - I can't afford to leave it lying idle.• By 1985 at least half of them were lying idle, stored in warehouses because of shortages of skills and software programmes.• Environment spokesman Jack Straw said £5 billion was lying idle while thousands were forced to sleep on the streets.idle threats• She was not a woman to make idle threats.• I knew it was just idle threats, but a lot wouldn't have - they'd have been distraught. idleidle2 verb 1 [intransitive]TTSLOW if an engine idles, it runs slowly while the vehicle, machine etc is not moving He flicked a switch and let the boat idle.2 [intransitive]NOT DO something to spend time doing nothing Sometimes he went for a walk; sometimes he just idled.3 [transitive] American EnglishUSE something to stop using a factory or stop providing work for your workers, especially temporarily SYN shut down The company has idled a number of its US plants indefinitely. → idle something ↔ away→ See Verb table
Examples from the Corpusidle• My car starts easily, but it sounds rough when it idles.• Cars and pickups and vans idle around him.• Ryan Klesko sat Wednesday, his smoldering bat idled by a sore right wrist.• GM announced it would idle four assembly plants.• Frick idled his way along the corridor, looking in through various windows.• The clutch engaged, the engine idled in a terrible calm.• At the kerb the taxi's diesel engine idled noisily as a passenger's face peered uncertainly through the window.• Lily idled on the window seat.• A skiff idling up beside a Sea and Shore Department cutter.From Longman Business Dictionaryidlei‧dle1 /ˈaɪdl/ adjective not active or being usedToday, its airplane manufacturing plants are largely idle.Carefully planned loading can reduce idle time (=time when people or machines are not working).idleidle2 verb [transitive] American English to stop using a factory or stop providing work for your workers, especially temporarilyThe company has reduced its workforce and indefinitely idled a number of its US plants.→ See Verb tableOrigin idle1 Old English idel