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1Twist, move, or fiddle with (something), typically in a purposeless or nervous way.‘she twiddled the dials on the radio’no object ‘he began twiddling with the curtain cord’
turn, twist, swivel, twirl, adjust, move, jiggleView synonyms
- ‘Remixing sometimes sounds like twiddling the radio tuner rapidly through different stations.’
- ‘He mumbled, twiddling his fingers like a young and nervous child.’
- ‘Melanie dropped her bags and twiddled her fingers nervously.’
- ‘She nervously twiddled her fingers together, looking completely uncomfortable.’
- ‘The short and jittery teacher was always twiddling his hands annoyingly, stuttering when he spoke and nervously rocking back and forth, as he stood.’
- ‘He tweaks a knob, he twiddles a dial, he hits a button, and the noise changes on his command.’
- ‘If I'd been wearing a tie, I'd have started twiddling it and doing slow burns to an unseen camera.’
- ‘I made her a hat out of some really fuzzy, soft yarn, and watched as she reached up to rip it off… and then stopped, and just kept twiddling it between thumb and fingers.’
- ‘She was nervously twiddling a pen between her fingers.’
- ‘He moved his hands in front of his face and started twiddling his fingers.’
- ‘We are on the balls of our feet, like tennis players awaiting service, anxiously twiddling our sticks.’
- ‘‘This is what I normally do,’ he says, twiddling his locks to show the effect he's after.’
- ‘Their natural sense of adventure and competitiveness is channelled into ‘action’ computer games - although all the action involved is sitting on your bum, twiddling your fingers.’
- ‘She looked down at her podium and nervously twiddled her fingers.’
- ‘He twiddled a button on the collar of his navy blue shirt.’
- ‘I slouch down in my seat, twiddling my fingers nervously.’
- ‘Pachinko is a vertical pinball game where one feeds little steel balls into the top of the machine, and tries to manipulate their passage down the machine by twiddling a knob, in order to win… more balls.’
- ‘My dad started, twiddling his fingers nervously.’
- ‘It was enough to leave reporters twiddling their pens, looking for answers, perhaps from a higher source.’
- ‘I don't want to see any more square-headed blokes twiddling knobs.’
- 1.1archaic no object Turn or move in a twirling way.
An act of twisting or fiddling with something.‘one twiddle of a button’
- ‘With darker or lighter, this is easily done at the twiddle of a knob.’
- ‘The evolutionists just give the knobs of the ‘mechanism’ a twiddle here and there to ‘explain’ the data.’
twiddle one's thumbs
1Rotate one's thumbs around each other with the fingers linked together.
- ‘The twenty-year-old twiddled his thumbs in front of him as he walked around and around.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘The General looked around quite nervously, twiddling his thumbs behind his back.’
- ‘My father looked to the ground and twiddled his thumbs against each other.’
- ‘She began twiddling her thumbs together and staring at the wall ahead of her.’
- ‘‘He says some b-b-bad things to me sometimes,’ Jamie said twiddling his thumbs together nervously.’
- ‘He perched on the edge of the seat twiddling his thumbs while gazing around the room.’
- ‘‘Well, you followed me,’ Trent pointed out with a smile, twiddling his thumbs together as he made himself more comfortable on the ground.’
- ‘Brooke stopped twiddling her thumbs, and pressed their tips together.’
- 1.1Be bored or idle because one has nothing to do.
have nothing to do, kick one's heels, do nothing, be idle, be unoccupied, sit around, kill time, waste timeView synonyms
- ‘All that sitting around twiddling my thumbs, and pretty soon even the dishes seemed like an interesting option.’
- ‘He and I are alike; we yearn for something we cannot find by sitting around, twiddling our 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.’’
- ‘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?’
- ‘He's hardly the kind to sit around twiddling his thumbs.’
- ‘The worst thing you can do is retire and then just sit around and twiddle your thumbs.’
- ‘Everyone sat around looking embarrassed and twiddling their thumbs as usual.’
- ‘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 don't think for a second Harris is going to sit around twiddling his thumbs.’
- ‘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.’
Mid 16th century (in the sense ‘trifle’): apparently imitative, combining the notion twirl or twist with that of trifling action expressed by fiddle.
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