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idler

[ahyd-ler] /ˈaɪd lər/
noun
1.
a person who passes time in a lazy or unproductive way.
2.
Machinery. an idle gear, wheel, or pulley.
3.
Railroads. an empty freight car placed under the projecting end of a long object carried by the next car, so that the latter can be connected with another part of the train.
4.
Nautical, day man (def 2).
Origin
1525-1535
1525-35; idle + -er1

idle

[ahyd-l] /ˈaɪd l/
adjective, idler, idlest.
1.
not working or active; unemployed; doing nothing:
idle workers.
2.
not spent or filled with activity:
idle hours.
3.
not in use or operation; not kept busy:
idle machinery.
4.
habitually doing nothing or avoiding work; lazy.
5.
of no real worth, importance, or significance:
idle talk.
6.
having no basis or reason; baseless; groundless:
idle fears.
7.
frivolous; vain:
idle pleasures.
8.
meaningless; senseless:
idle threats.
9.
futile; unavailing:
idle rage.
verb (used without object), idled, idling.
10.
to pass time doing nothing.
11.
to move, loiter, or saunter aimlessly:
to idle along the avenue.
12.
(of a machine, engine, or mechanism) to operate at a low speed, disengaged from the load.
verb (used with object), idled, idling.
13.
to pass (time) doing nothing (often followed by away):
to idle away the afternoon.
14.
to cause (a person) to be idle:
The strike idled many workers.
15.
to cause (a machine, engine, or mechanism) to idle:
I waited in the car while idling the engine.
noun
16.
the state or quality of being idle.
17.
the state of a machine, engine, or mechanism that is idling:
a cold engine that stalls at idle.
Origin
before 900; 1915-20 for def 12; Middle English, Old English īdel (adj.) empty, trifling, vain, useless; cognate with German eitel
Related forms
idleness, noun
idly, adverb
overidle, adjective
overidleness, noun
overidly, adverb
unidle, adjective
unidling, adjective
unidly, adverb
Can be confused
idle, idol, idyll (see synonym study at the current entry)
Synonyms
1. sluggish. Idle, indolent, lazy, slothful apply to a person who is not active. To be idle is to be inactive or not working at a job. The word is sometimes derogatory, but not always, since one may be relaxing temporarily or may be idle through necessity: pleasantly idle on a vacation; to be idle because one is unemployed or because supplies are lacking. The indolent person is naturally disposed to avoid exertion: indolent and slow in movement; an indolent and contented fisherman. The lazy person is averse to exertion or work, and especially to continued application; the word is usually derogatory: too lazy to earn a living; incurably lazy. Slothful denotes a reprehensible unwillingness to carry one's share of the burden: so slothful as to be a burden on others. 5. worthless, trivial, trifling. 7. wasteful. 11. See loiter. 13. waste.
Antonyms
1. busy, industrious. 5. important, worthwhile.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for idler
  • The belt idler could have fallen on his feet causing a lost time injury.
  • He pulled the idler roller off the belt and let it fall on the walkway.
British Dictionary definitions for idler

idler

/ˈaɪdlə/
noun
1.
a person who idles
2.
another name for idle pulley, idle wheel
3.
(nautical) a ship's crew member, such as a carpenter, sailmaker, etc, whose duties do not include standing regular watches

idle

/ˈaɪdəl/
adjective
1.
unemployed or unoccupied; inactive
2.
not operating or being used
3.
(of money) not being used to earn interest or dividends
4.
not wanting to work; lazy
5.
(usually prenominal) frivolous or trivial idle pleasures
6.
ineffective or powerless; fruitless; vain
7.
without basis; unfounded
verb
8.
when tr, often foll by away. to waste or pass (time) fruitlessly or inactively he idled the hours away
9.
(intransitive) to loiter or move aimlessly
10.
(intransitive) (of a shaft, engine, etc) to turn without doing useful work
11.
(intransitive) (of an engine) to run at low speed with the transmission disengaged Also (Brit) tick over
12.
(transitive) (US & Canadian) to cause to be inactive or unemployed
Derived Forms
idleness, noun
idly, adverb
Word Origin
Old English īdel; compare Old High German ītal empty, vain
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for idler
n.

1530s, agent noun from idle.

idle

adj.

Old English idel "empty, void; vain; worthless, useless; not employed," common West Germanic (cf. Old Saxon idal, Old Frisian idel "empty, worthless," Old Dutch idil, Old High German ital, German eitel "vain, useless, mere, pure"), of unknown origin. Idle threats preserves original sense; meaning "lazy" is c.1300.

v.

late 15c., "make vain or worthless," from idle (adj.). Meaning "spend or waste (time)" is from 1650s. Meaning "cause to be idle" is from 1789. Sense of "running slowly and steadily without transmitting power" (as a motor) first recorded 1916. Related: Idled; idling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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