twid·​dle | \ ˈtwi-dᵊl How to pronounce twiddle (audio) \
twiddled; twiddling\ ˈtwid-​liŋ How to pronounce twiddle (audio) , ˈtwi-​dᵊl-​iŋ \

Definition of twiddle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to play negligently with something : fiddle
2 : to turn or jounce lightly twiddles round and round in the water— J. B. S. Haldane

transitive verb

: to rotate lightly or idly twiddled his pen
twiddle one's thumbs
: to spend time idly : do nothing



Definition of twiddle (Entry 2 of 2)

: turn, twist

Examples of twiddle in a Sentence

Verb Just twiddle the dial on the radio a bit for better reception. Twiddle the knob on the telescope until things are in focus. She twiddled her pen while she talked on the phone. She twiddled with her pen while she talked on the phone.
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb No wonder Elon Musk has the time to twiddle his thumbs on Twitter. Los Angeles Times, 27 May 2022 What if the Suns make a big move, while the Warriors twiddle their thumbs? Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle, 9 Feb. 2022 On a humid, rainy afternoon, Susan had demonstrated how to dig a hole for my tomato plant and twiddle it with my fingers so that the roots would crumble., 24 July 2021 Clayster, with nothing to do but twiddle his Call of Duty thumbs, decides to do a domination art project on the A Flag on Hackney Yard. Sean Collins, Dallas News, 31 Aug. 2020 The perception among some people that DNR employees twiddle their thumbs all day isn’t the case. Star Tribune, 29 Aug. 2020 The pipeline development analysts cannot afford to sit twiddling their thumbs. Eric M. Stone, STAT, 5 June 2020 While athletes all over the world are twiddling their thumbs, she's been rushed off her feet trying to help them get through a period of relentless uncertainty. Don Riddell, CNN, 22 Apr. 2020 Stylistically, the president himself seemed ill at ease in the formal setting, offering a monotone and labored delivery from behind the Resolute Desk, twiddling his thumbs and even, in moments, struggling to read words on the teleprompter. Author: Philip Rucker, Ashley Parker, Josh Dawsey, Anchorage Daily News, 13 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Pilots sit behind a modern avionic dashboard and twiddle control sticks to direct advanced, swiveling engines. Andrew Van Dam,, 12 June 2018 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'twiddle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of twiddle


circa 1540, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


1774, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for twiddle


origin unknown

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The first known use of twiddle was circa 1540

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Cite this Entry

“Twiddle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for twiddle


twid·​dle | \ ˈtwi-dᵊl How to pronounce twiddle (audio) \
twiddled; twiddling

Kids Definition of twiddle

: twirl entry 1 I twiddled my thumbs.

More from Merriam-Webster on twiddle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for twiddle

Nglish: Translation of twiddle for Spanish Speakers


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