Definition of idly in English:

idly

adverb

  • 1With no particular purpose, reason, or foundation.

    ‘‘How was the race?’ Kate asked idly’
    • ‘And that doesn't happen for whatever reason, and you idly wonder for how long you can keep it going.’
    • ‘It wasn't perfect, but I could picture myself writing at the desk idly watching New York bustling below.’
    • ‘I happened to be idly looking out my window, enviously eyeing up the copious foliage growing in my neighbours' flat.’
    • ‘He asks it idly, no real concern, and for some reason, it makes her feel just a little lighter.’
    • ‘I do hope I don't accidentally spy her getting into the shower when I'm idly watching the neighbourhood.’
    • ‘Next time your boss asks you why you are idly staring into space, tell him you are working on that positive gamma wave production.’
    • ‘I idly chatted about subjects of no consequence with my mother and, as usual, we completed each other's sentences.’
    • ‘I idly wondered if there are people who make a hobby out of finding the fake streets on maps.’
    • ‘Chloe wondered idly: ‘What does he intend to do now he has me hung up like a piece of game?’’
    • ‘As we pulled away, I idly wondered why there were so many religious monuments in Lebanon.’
    • ‘Matthew, dithering, takes long coffee breaks at Big Lou's while Pat dreams idly about Bruce.’
    • ‘I spend most of her scenes idly wondering what she'd look like post facial money-shot.’
    • ‘You may, like me, have been idly wondering what the powerful creative minds behind The Muppet Show are doing these days.’
    • ‘I wondered, idly, if a record producer might be coming down the escalator now and hear this angelic voice and decide he had to sign me up.’
    • ‘Still leaning forward, she idly dangled the radio from her left hand while twisting the strap around her fingers.’
    • ‘It's funny how when you wonder idly about something, events transpire to answer your question.’
    • ‘One evening a few weeks ago, whilst idly clicking round a few sites, I happened across a weblog by someone I know.’
    • ‘Whilst observing her leg I noticed that hers was hair free and I idly wondered in my dream if she waxed her own legs.’
    • ‘For our ‘International’ bake sale I was idly toying with the idea of making some Bourbons.’
    • ‘Did you wish idly while they were children about how you wished you'd done whatever else instead?’
    1. 1.1 In an aimless or lazy way.
      ‘I can no longer stand idly by and let him take the blame’
      • ‘I am not going to sit idly by while the national gambling industry seeks to get their hooks in our state and take us down the wrong path.’
      • ‘The Government should be ‘acting’ and ‘not standing idly by’ following the move by Aer Lingus to drop its Heathrow flights out of Shannon and transfer the slots to the North.’
      • ‘He realised that he could not sit idly by while racialist groups actively promoted their agenda.’
      • ‘The world cannot stand idly by anymore when innocent people are killed by their leaders.’
      • ‘She would sit idly at cafes on the Left Bank watching le beau monde go by, her PDA not too far from her café au lait.’
      • ‘Jack is idly sitting in the office, discovering the delights of hunting out new screensavers with which to crash his machine.’
      • ‘Two guys were standing idly at the pedestrian crossing, waiting for the lights to change.’
      • ‘I was standing idly watching the soft padded volleyball as it came flying in my direction.’
      • ‘I cannot sit idly by and observe as your client is psychologically tormented.’
      • ‘His government has stood by idly as the livelihoods of thousands are destroyed.’
      • ‘We are taught in Leviticus that ‘you shall not stand idly by the blood of your neighbor’.’
      • ‘I swore to myself at that time that I would never sit idly by while someone was being discriminated against.’
      • ‘It is another thing to say that we must stand idly by and let her take her own life.’
      • ‘China said Friday that it will not stand idly by if the situation gets out of control.’
      • ‘I have yet to see the staff sitting idly waiting for a customer.’
      • ‘Not all of us will sit idly by while others exploit or undermine us.’
      • ‘Do we continue to sit idly by and let them build a military power that we, as free people, cannot stop?’
      • ‘Other great power states, including Germany, will not stand by idly and let that happen.’
      • ‘Mark Latham - Too busy with his and other people's children to be idly shopping in bookstores.’
      • ‘Can he possibly be standing idly by while millions of accidents wound and kill countless people every day?’

Pronunciation

idly

/ˈʌɪdli/