idly

adverb \ ˈīd-lē , ˈī-dᵊl-ē \
Updated on: 15 Nov 2017

Definition of idly

:in an idle manner: such as
a :without much thought, effort or attention
  • idly staring out the window
  • idly flipping from one channel to another
  • Harry …doodled idly on his parchment ignoring Hermione's frequent glares and nudges …
  • —J. K. Rowling
b :in a lazy or inactive manner or state
  • sat with her hands resting idly in her lap
  • spent the day lying idly on the couch
  • Barber left London the next day, and for six months sat idly in Addis Ababa waiting for something to happen.
  • —Waverly Root
c :without taking any action
  • "The time has come to speak," she said. "I cannot stand idly by [=do nothing] and see a young man going to perdition!"
  • —P. G. Wodehouse
  • … a party who has been wronged by a breach of contract may not unreasonably sit idly by and allow damages to accumulate.
  • —John D. Calamari and Joseph M. Perillo

First Known Use of idly

before 12th century


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