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twiddle

[twid-l] /ˈtwɪd l/
verb (used with object), twiddled, twiddling.
1.
to turn about or play with lightly or idly, especially with the fingers; twirl.
verb (used without object), twiddled, twiddling.
2.
to play or trifle idly with something; fiddle.
3.
to turn about lightly; twirl.
noun
4.
the act of twiddling; turn; twirl.
Idioms
5.
twiddle one's thumbs, to do nothing; be idle:
Business was slack, and the salespeople were twiddling their thumbs.
Origin
1530-1540
1530-40; perhaps blend of twitch and fiddle
Related forms
twiddler, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for twiddle thumbs

twiddle

/ˈtwɪdəl/
verb
1.
when intr, often foll by with. to twirl or fiddle (with), often in an idle way
2.
to do nothing; be unoccupied
3.
(intransitive) to turn, twirl, or rotate
4.
(intransitive) (rare) to be occupied with trifles
noun
5.
an act or instance of twiddling
Derived Forms
twiddler, noun
Word Origin
C16: probably a blend of twirl + fiddle
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 twiddle thumbs

twiddle

v.

1540s, "to trifle," of unknown origin; of the fingers, first recorded 1670s. Figurative phrase twiddle one's thumbs "have nothing to do" is recorded from 1846; to twirl one's thumbs in the same sense is recorded from 1816. Related: Twiddled; twiddling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for twiddle thumbs

twiddle

noun

The tilde, a diacritical mark used especially in Spanish

verb

To change something in a small way; tweak (1980s+ Computer)


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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12
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