What is another word for idle?

Synonyms for idle
ˈaɪd lidle

This thesaurus page is about all possible synonyms, equivalent, same meaning and similar words for the term idle.

English Synonyms and Antonyms

  1. idle

    Idle in all uses rests upon its root meaning, as derived from the Anglo-Saxon idel, which signifies vain, empty, useless. Idle thus denotes not primarily the absence of action, but vain action — the absence of useful, effective action; the idle schoolboy may be very actively whittling his desk or tormenting his neighbors. Doing nothing whatever is the secondary meaning of idle. One may be temporarily idle of necessity; if he is habitually idle, it is his own fault. Lazy signifies indisposed to exertion, averse to labor; idleness is in fact; laziness is in disposition or inclination. A lazy person may chance to be employed in useful work, but he acts without energy or impetus. We speak figuratively of a lazy stream. The inert person seems like dead matter (characterized by inertia), powerless to move; the sluggish moves heavily and toilsomely; the most active person may sometimes find the bodily or mental powers sluggish. Slothful belongs in the moral realm, denoting a self-indulgent aversion to exertion. "The slothful hideth his hand in his bosom; it grieveth him to bring it again to his mouth," Prov. xxvi, 15. Indolent is a milder term for the same quality; the slothful man hates action; the indolent man loves inaction. Compare VAIN.

    inactive, indolent, inert, lazy, slothful, sluggish, trifling, unemployed, unoccupied, vacant

    active, busy, diligent, employed, industrious, occupied, working

Complete Dictionary of Synonyms and Antonyms

  1. idle

    void, unoccupied, waste, vain, empty, unemployed, useless, inactive, lazy, indolent

    tilled, occupied, populated, filled, employed, assiduous, industrious

Princeton's WordNet

  1. idleadjective

    the state of an engine or other mechanism that is idling

    "the car engine was running at idle"

    overbusy, toiling, busy, profitable, responsible, at work(p), laboring, occupied, up to, labouring, drudging, active, engaged, supported, tied up(p), serious, employed, run, work

  2. idleadjective

    not in action or at work

    "an idle laborer"; "idle drifters"; "the idle rich"; "an idle mind"

    groundless, loose, baseless, jobless, out of work, wild, light, dead, unused, unwarranted, unfounded

    occupied, overbusy, busy, up to, engaged, drudging, tied up(p), serious, employed, toiling, profitable, laboring, active, at work(p), labouring, supported, responsible, work, run

  3. baseless, groundless, idle, unfounded, unwarranted, wildadjective

    without a basis in reason or fact

    "baseless gossip"; "the allegations proved groundless"; "idle fears"; "unfounded suspicions"; "unwarranted jealousy"

    insupportable, jobless, gaga, raging, violent, untamed, unfounded, unwarrantable, dead, out of work, hazardous, tempestuous, undue, indefensible, godforsaken, dotty, unjustified, uncivilised, uncivilized, waste, baseless, risky, angry, wild, savage, fantastic, barbarian, unjustifiable, crazy, raving mad, unused, groundless, barbaric, furious, light, unwarranted, loose

    overbusy, occupied, busy, engaged, responsible, employed, active, laboring, labouring, serious, drudging, profitable, supported, tied up(p), at work(p), up to, toiling, run, work

  4. idle, unusedadjective

    not in active use

    "the machinery sat idle during the strike"; "idle hands"

    groundless, loose, baseless, jobless, out of work, wild, light, dead, unused, unwarranted, fresh, unfounded

    up to, labouring, serious, laboring, toiling, active, at work(p), overbusy, occupied, busy, responsible, profitable, drudging, employed, engaged, supported, tied up(p), run, work

  5. idle, lightadjective

    silly or trivial

    "idle pleasure"; "light banter"; "light idle chatter"

    light-headed, lite, wanton, unfounded, jobless, wakeful, faint, lightheaded, low-cal, calorie-free, lightsome, dead, out of work, light-colored, unaccented, weak, easy, promiscuous, abstemious, unclouded, clean, light(a), baseless, clear, wild, tripping, short, scant(p), unused, groundless, sluttish, light, swooning, unwarranted, loose

    profitable, employed, drudging, laboring, supported, tied up(p), serious, labouring, active, up to, busy, overbusy, at work(p), occupied, toiling, engaged, responsible, work, run

  6. idle, looseadjective

    lacking a sense of restraint or responsibility

    "idle talk"; "a loose tongue"

    wanton, escaped, wild, sluttish, informal, dead, on the loose(p), out of work, easy, unused, liberal, free, jobless, open, lax, loose, unaffixed, groundless, promiscuous, light, slack, unfounded, baseless, at large(p), unwarranted

    laboring, responsible, active, tied up(p), drudging, profitable, serious, busy, at work(p), occupied, up to, engaged, overbusy, toiling, employed, supported, labouring, work, run

  7. dead, idleadjective

    not yielding a return

    "dead capital"; "idle funds"

    dead(a), wild, bushed(p), dead, out of work, unused, jobless, light, deadened, drained, loose, groundless, utter, beat(p), numb(p), dead(p), unfounded, baseless, stagnant, all in(p), unwarranted

    responsible, employed, at work(p), drudging, labouring, up to, serious, tied up(p), toiling, busy, overbusy, active, profitable, laboring, supported, engaged, occupied, run, work

  8. idle, jobless, out of workverb

    not having a job

    "idle carpenters"; "jobless transients"; "many people in the area were out of work"

    groundless, loose, baseless, jobless, out of work, wild, light, dead, unused, unwarranted, unfounded

    profitable, engaged, tied up(p), active, toiling, drudging, labouring, overbusy, responsible, at work(p), supported, serious, occupied, employed, busy, laboring, up to, run, work

  9. idle, tick oververb

    run disconnected or idle

    "the engine is idling"

    tick over, slug, laze, stagnate

    busy, supported, at work(p), drudging, responsible, toiling, overbusy, employed, laboring, active, serious, tied up(p), labouring, engaged, occupied, up to, profitable, work, run

  10. idle, laze, slug, stagnateverb

    be idle; exist in a changeless situation

    "The old man sat and stagnated on his porch"; "He slugged in bed all morning"

    swig, tick over, slug, laze, stagnate, slog

    occupied, overbusy, toiling, engaged, at work(p), up to, labouring, profitable, drudging, tied up(p), laboring, employed, responsible, active, serious, busy, supported, run, work

Dictionary of English Synonymes

  1. idleadjective

    unemployed, unoccupied, unbusied, inactive

  2. idleadjective

    indolent, lazy, slothful, sluggish, inert

  3. idleadjective

    vacant, unused

  4. idleadjective

    useless, ineffectual, bootless, fruitless, unavailing, vain, futile, abortive

  5. idleadjective

    trifling, trivial, unimportant, trashy, foolish, unprofitable

Synonyms, Antonyms & Associated Words

  1. idleadjective

    leisure, vain, unavailing, futile, ineffectual, indolent, slothful, inactive, lazy, otiose

How to pronounce idle?

How to say idle in sign language?

Words popularity by usage frequency


How to use idle in a sentence?

  1. President Obama:

    We are in absolute agreement that in the 21st century, we cannot stand idle..and simply allow the borders of Europe to be redrawn at the barrel of the gun.

  2. Thomas a Kempis:

    Never be entirely idle; but either be reading, or writing, or praying or meditating or endeavoring something for the public good.

  3. Proverb:

    The Devil finds work for idle hands.

  4. H. L. Mencken:

    All [zoos] actually offer to the public in return for the taxes spent upon them is a form of idle and witless amusement, compared to which a visit to a penitentiary, or even to a State legislature in session, is informing, stimulating and ennobling.

  5. Betty Husley:

    She is hardly ever idle, always doing something and has a very positive outlook on life.

Translations for idle

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • عاطل عن العملArabic
  • незаетBulgarian
  • desocupat, inactiu, aturatCatalan, Valencian
  • zahálet, nepotřebný, mrhat, volný, líný, neužitečný, nečinnýCzech
  • überflüssig, nutzlos, müßig, untätigGerman
  • άνεργος, οκνηρός, ανώφελος, αδρανής, άχρηστοςGreek
  • ocioso, flojear, desocupado, vagabundoSpanish
  • بیهودهPersian
  • laiska, toimeton, maleksia, joutilas, joutava, [[olla]] [[joutokäynnillä]], olla vapaallaFinnish
  • inutile, négligeable, fainéanter, fainéant, inactif, oisifFrench
  • caithScottish Gaelic
  • אבטלהHebrew
  • henyél, tétlenHungarian
  • girare al minimo, infingardo, vano, sciupare nell'ozio, pigro, oziare, in folle, girare a vuoto, ozioso, sprecare tempo, indolente, disoccupato, inattivo, inutile, perdere tempoItalian
  • Japanese
  • 게으른Korean
  • ōtiōsusLatin
  • nietsdoend, inactief, nutteloos, ijdelDutch
  • tomgangNorwegian
  • leniwyPolish
  • inapropriado, vagabundo, preguiçoso, ocioso, imprestável, desocupado, vazio, perder tempo, vão, desempregado, inútilPortuguese
  • незанятыйRussian
  • overksam, gå på tomgångSwedish
  • zembeaSwahili
  • boş, atılTurkish

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"idle." Synonyms.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 8 Aug. 2022. <https://www.synonyms.com/synonym/idle>.

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    • B. mad
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