One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
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.’
- ‘‘Well, you followed me,’ Trent pointed out with a smile, twiddling his thumbs together as he made himself more comfortable on the ground.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘He perched on the edge of the seat twiddling his thumbs while gazing around the room.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘The General looked around quite nervously, twiddling his thumbs behind his back.’
- ‘The twenty-year-old twiddled his thumbs in front of him as he walked around and around.’
- ‘Brooke stopped twiddling her thumbs, and pressed their tips together.’
- 1.1 Be 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
- ‘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.’
- ‘Everyone sat around looking embarrassed and twiddling their thumbs as usual.’
- ‘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.’’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
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