Definition of twiddle one's thumbs in English:

twiddle one's thumbs

phrase

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

    • ‘He perched on the edge of the seat twiddling his thumbs while gazing around the room.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘‘He says some b-b-bad things to me sometimes,’ Jamie said twiddling his thumbs together nervously.’
    • ‘She began twiddling her thumbs together and staring at the wall ahead of her.’
    • ‘Brooke stopped twiddling her thumbs, and pressed their tips together.’
    • ‘‘Well, you followed me,’ Trent pointed out with a smile, twiddling his thumbs together as he made himself more comfortable on the ground.’
    • ‘To my surprise, she was actually twiddling her thumbs while looking around herself, a politely bored expression on her face.’
    1. 1.1Be bored or idle because one has nothing to do.
      • ‘He and I are alike; we yearn for something we cannot find by sitting around, twiddling our thumbs.’
      • ‘All that sitting around twiddling my thumbs, and pretty soon even the dishes seemed like an interesting option.’
      • ‘But don't think for a second Harris is going to sit around twiddling his 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.’’
      • ‘He's hardly the kind to sit around twiddling 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?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The worst thing you can do is retire and then just sit around and twiddle your 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.’
      • ‘Everyone sat around looking embarrassed and twiddling their thumbs as usual.’