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.

    • ‘My father looked to the ground and twiddled his thumbs against each other.’
    • ‘The Banshee sighs as she twiddles her thumbs around each other.’
    • ‘The General looked around quite nervously, twiddling his thumbs behind his back.’
    • ‘To my surprise, she was actually twiddling her thumbs while looking around herself, a politely bored expression on her face.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The twenty-year-old twiddled his thumbs in front of him as he walked around and around.’
    1. 1.1 Be bored or idle because one has nothing to do.
      • ‘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.’’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘All that sitting around twiddling my thumbs, and pretty soon even the dishes seemed like an interesting option.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘He and I are alike; we yearn for something we cannot find by sitting around, twiddling our thumbs.’
      • ‘He's hardly the kind to sit around twiddling 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.’
      have nothing to do, kick one's heels, do nothing, be idle, be unoccupied, sit around, kill time, waste time
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