\ ˈīd-lər, ˈī-dᵊl-ər How to pronounce idler (audio) \
plural idlers

Definition of idler

1 : one who spends time idly : an idle, inactive, or lazy person The idlers in O'Toole's and in the candy store would crowd outside, leaving their beers and chocolate malteds behind.— Stephen King There he assumed the role of society playboy, swell dancer, ready wit and all-around idler, all the while continuing a nearly secret life as a dedicated painter.— Frank Getlein "He has never done anything—he is a selfish idler."— Henry James For this was the regime that was supposed to turn idlers, spongers, beggars and assorted ne'er-do-wells into industrious responsible members of society.— Simon Schama
2a : idler pulley This new design eliminates idlers and all the maintenance issues associated with the traditional conveyor design.Biomass Magazine
b : idler wheel Some manufacturers use larger drive wheels with smaller idlers that are free to turn on their own axes.— Harry H. Poole

First Known Use of idler

1534, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Cite this Entry

“Idler.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jun. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of idler

somewhat old-fashioned : someone who is lazy or does not work

More from Merriam-Webster on idler

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for idler

Nglish: Translation of idler for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of idler for Arabic Speakers


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