Definition of twiddle one's thumbs in English:

twiddle one's thumbs

phrase

  • 1Rotate one's thumbs round each other with the fingers linked together.

    • ‘The General looked around quite nervously, twiddling his thumbs behind his back.’
    • ‘She began twiddling her thumbs together and staring at the wall ahead of her.’
    • ‘The twenty-year-old twiddled his thumbs in front of him as he walked around and around.’
    • ‘‘Well, you followed me,’ Trent pointed out with a smile, twiddling his thumbs together as he made himself more comfortable on the ground.’
    • ‘‘He says some b-b-bad things to me sometimes,’ Jamie said twiddling his thumbs together nervously.’
    • ‘Brooke stopped twiddling her thumbs, and pressed their tips together.’
    • ‘He perched on the edge of the seat twiddling his thumbs while gazing around the room.’
    • ‘The Banshee sighs as she twiddles her thumbs around each other.’
    • ‘To my surprise, she was actually twiddling her thumbs while looking around herself, a politely bored expression on her face.’
    • ‘My father looked to the ground and twiddled his thumbs against each other.’
    1. 1.1 Be bored or idle because one has nothing to do.
      ‘I have been sitting here for goodness knows how long twiddling my thumbs’
      • ‘Another friend said: ‘Anyone who knows Mike knows that the one thing he won't do in prison is sit around and twiddle his thumbs.’’
      • ‘Everyone sat around looking embarrassed and twiddling their thumbs as usual.’
      • ‘The worst thing you can do is retire and then just sit around and twiddle your thumbs.’
      • ‘But don't think for a second Harris is going to sit around twiddling his thumbs.’
      • ‘He and I are alike; we yearn for something we cannot find by sitting around, twiddling our thumbs.’
      • ‘If I didn't come here in the night, I'd be sitting around at home, twiddling my thumbs and thinking about going to a real bar.’
      • ‘But scientists, if they are to remain any good at what they do, have to keep on doing it - they can't just wait around twiddling their thumbs for five years and still be able to put together a credible bid.’
      • ‘Instead of twiddling your thumbs and letting frustration get the best of you, why not hit the road and discover the hidden treasures of the Vigie Peninsula?’
      • ‘All that sitting around twiddling my thumbs, and pretty soon even the dishes seemed like an interesting option.’
      • ‘He's hardly the kind to sit around twiddling his thumbs.’
      have nothing to do, kick one's heels, do nothing, be idle, be unoccupied, sit around, kill time, waste time
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