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Idle   /ˈaɪdəl/   Listen
Idle

verb
(past & past part. idled; pres. part. idling)
1.
Run disconnected or idle.  Synonym: tick over.
2.
Be idle; exist in a changeless situation.  Synonyms: laze, slug, stagnate.  "He slugged in bed all morning"



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"Idle" Quotes from Famous Books



... a birth-day thought—haply an idle gift and token, Right from the scented soil's May-utterance here, (Smelling of countless blessings, prayers, and old-time thanks,)[45] A bunch of white and pink arbutus, silent, spicy, shy, From Hudson's, Delaware's, or ...
— Complete Prose Works - Specimen Days and Collect, November Boughs and Goodbye My Fancy • Walt Whitman

... very clear account of the manner in which Lord Byron employed himself after his return to Athens; but various intimations in his correspondence show that during the winter his pen was not idle. It would, however, be to neglect an important occurrence, not to notice that during the time when he was at Athens alone, the incident which he afterwards embodied in the impassioned fragments of The Giaour came to pass; and to apprise the reader that the ...
— The Life of Lord Byron • John Galt

... reward the freebooter; yet that is exactly what it did. At first only a few outlaws took advantage of it; but hard years came on, the cattle business became less and less profitable, we were forced to lay off our men, and so at last the range swarmed with idle cow-punchers; then came the breakdown in our scheme! The cowboys took to 'mavericking' on their own account. Some of them had the grace to go into partnership with some farmer, and so claim a small bunch of cows, but others suddenly and ...
— Cavanaugh: Forest Ranger - A Romance of the Mountain West • Hamlin Garland

... forgiveness, and, I need not add, received it frankly. Harold was unremitting in his attentions to your brother during the period of his illness, and from the day of that hostile meeting, the most devoted friendship has existed between them. But it was an idle quarrel, Miss Weems, and was near to have cost you ...
— Fort Lafayette or, Love and Secession • Benjamin Wood

... name Frontenac first rate, and Point Vivian, and the name of the hotel on St. Lawrence Park, Lotus, seemed highly appropriate for the idle hours of rest and pleasure in the ...
— Samantha at Coney Island - and a Thousand Other Islands • Marietta Holley

... fears. He had been accustomed to rely upon no power but that of the sword, and to respect no authority but a military commission. To him the law was a subject of scorn, and the civil rights of citizens or subjects an idle tale. He looked upon his five thousand troops, with their arms and ammunition, and he saw there the only power be respected, or would condescend to use to maintain his government. Such principles led or drove him to a course of desperate violence, having then no parallel in any country pretending ...
— The American Quarterly Review, No. 17, March 1831 • Various

... room, with quiet, firm step, erect, stately, beautiful in her advanced years as she had been in her bloom and freshness, only with another kind of beauty—an empress among women. The boast that she had made to herself was no idle boast. At sixty-seven years of age her physical powers showed no signs of decay, her mental qualities were at their best and brightest. Long years of thought and study had ripened and widened her mind. She was a woman fit to be the friend and counsellor of statesmen, the companion and confidant of ...
— Phantom Fortune, A Novel • M. E. Braddon

... found only along the coast or at a great depth. It has been brought here from a considerable distance. Indians may have done the work, but they never did it willingly. If they did it at all, it was as slaves. But we have no time for idle speculation. Let's walk along it and ...
— The Boy Chums in the Forest - or Hunting for Plume Birds in the Florida Everglades • Wilmer M. Ely

... though not possessed of equal resources, as the Massilians. On this account they received the consul, and his army, with kindness and cordiality. Cato staid there a few days, until he could learn what force the enemy had, and where they lay; and, not to be idle during even that short delay, he spent the whole time in exercising his men. It happened to be the season of the year when the Spaniards had the corn in their barns. He therefore ordered the purveyors ...
— History of Rome, Vol III • Titus Livius

... the cuckoo to the instinctive love of their offspring observable in almost all birds! After the eggs are laid the parent bird has no further trouble with them; no period of incubation to bare the breast of the brooding bird; no anxiety about her young ones, as some idle, wanton lad hunts amongst the trees and bushes, destroys both nest and eggs, or tortures the helpless fledglings! "But, papa," said Willy, "how does it happen that the young birds hatched in the same nest with the young cuckoo always get turned out of it." ...
— Country Walks of a Naturalist with His Children • W. Houghton

... of a variety of tabbies, a sort of thing by no means impossible among two hundred relations. Such affairs often spring from a grain of mustard seed, and by-and-by involve all the fowls of the air that roost in the branches. Idle tales circulated of a discussion among the ministers (visitors) which happened one evening over the pipes and three-star bottles, when the elder, taking down a celebrated volume of sermons, pointed out a passage almost ...
— Field and Hedgerow • Richard Jefferies

... office was dropped or abolished in the first year of the present century, I believe, long after it ceased to be of use for most of its primary purposes. The area before the entry doors of the Buttery had become a sort of students' exchange for idle gossip, if nothing worse. The rooms were now redeemed from traffic, and devoted to places of study, and other provision was made for the records which had there been kept. The last person who held the office of Butler was Joseph Chickering, a graduate of 1799."—Memories ...
— A Collection of College Words and Customs • Benjamin Homer Hall

... idle pastime is to apply letter-based Dissociated Press to a random body of text and {vgrep} the output in hopes of finding an interesting new word. (In the preceding example, 'window sysIWYG' and 'informash' show ...
— The Jargon File, Version 4.0.0

... Mrs. Clavering had a wonderful way with her pupils, a very stimulating way, and she so arranged her prizes and her certificates that no girl who had really worked, who had really taken pains, was excluded from distinction. It was only the hopelessly idle, the hopelessly disobedient, who could leave Cherry Court School without some token of its mistress's ...
— A Bunch of Cherries - A Story of Cherry Court School • L. T. Meade

... "'T is idle to resist," persisted the hidden speaker. "The way is barred in both directions, and there ...
— Janice Meredith • Paul Leicester Ford

... ignoble uses, and the urns which contained their ashes stuck up as ornaments in a painted room, where barbarian visitors lounge away their hours, and stare upon their relics with scornful indifference or idle curiosity! ...
— The Diary of an Ennuyee • Anna Brownell Jameson

... the low settle beside the window and lighted his long pipe, puffing thoughtfully and gazing into the smoke as he spoke. "I would not have you repeat this, son, for it may be but idle gossip. But it is reported that since her mother's death the child has become the idol of the governor's hard, old heart. He is filled with foolish fears that he may lose her as cruelly as he lost her mother before her. He scarcely ever permits her to stir abroad ...
— The New Land - Stories of Jews Who Had a Part in the Making of Our Country • Elma Ehrlich Levinger

... to me idle, Mr. Gregory. I know that I have to try very hard to do right, and I often fail. I do not believe that our very existence begins in a lie, as it were, for from earliest years conscience tells us that we needn't ...
— Opening a Chestnut Burr • Edward Payson Roe

... there's rhythm, and a nice variety there is. The allegro has one stout tune, and the rush and dynamic glow lasts. He lasts, does Rubin Goldmark, and I could have heard the piece through twice. The young American composer has not been idle lately." ...
— Contemporary American Composers • Rupert Hughes

... We went round to the back of the sleeping cottage, and found a little shed. On a bench in that shed a candle was burning in a ginger-beer bottle. By the candle was a structure meaningless to me, having nothing of which I could make a guess. It was fragmentary and idle, the building which a child makes of household utensils, naming it anything to its fancy. There were old jam-pots, brass door-knobs, squares of india-rubber, an electric bell, glass rods, cotton reels, and thin wires which ran up to ...
— Old Junk • H. M. Tomlinson

... used it hard. In fact he made something of a special feature of it. It began to bring him emergency business. Wherever speed was a big essential, he secured the contract through my gang. He used us altogether for foundation work and his business increased so rapidly that we were never idle. I became proud of my men ...
— One Way Out - A Middle-class New-Englander Emigrates to America • William Carleton

... of idle waiting Schiller was able to report that Dalberg had returned and was showing himself very friendly. The man was 'all fire,'—only it was gunpowder flame that would not last long. The genial intendant insisted that Schiller should by all means remain in Mannheim. 'Fiesco,' now ...
— The Life and Works of Friedrich Schiller • Calvin Thomas

... most debased form he has much more vigour and vivacity than the most debased of English operatives. He may be more immoral; but he is less brutish. If we are a little vain, and very fond of gaiety; and if we are improvident, we are not idle; and, with all our street fighting, we are not a discontented race. Except an Arab, who can be so happy as we know how to make ourselves, upon ...
— A Tramp's Wallet - stored by an English goldsmith during his wanderings in Germany and France • William Duthie

... only ill circumstance in his future. He had been idle for some eighteen months, superintending his new edition, hanging on to settle with the publisher, travelling in the Highlands with Willie Nichol, or philandering with Mrs. M'Lehose; and in this period the radical part of the man had suffered irremediable ...
— The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition Vol. 3 (of 25) • Robert Louis Stevenson

... time that I became a Catholic, of course I have no further history of my religious opinions to narrate. In saying this, I do not mean to say that my mind has been idle, or that I have given up thinking on theological subjects; but that I have had no variations to record, and have had no anxiety of heart whatever. I have been in perfect peace and contentment; I never have had one doubt. I was not conscious to myself, on my conversion, ...
— Apologia Pro Vita Sua • John Henry Cardinal Newman

... in Muslin." Said an old shanachie to Synge on Inishere, when Synge had told him of a stock exchange trick, "Isn't it a great wonder to think that those men are as big rogues as ourselves?" It is idle to pretend that it is not true that, in some moods, all men the world over have sympathy for the rogue. Why do we read of Reynard the Fox with delight, and Robin Hood, and Uncle Remus, and not only in the days of our own infantile roguery, but as grown men and women? This ...
— Irish Plays and Playwrights • Cornelius Weygandt

... it you're saying, Stevie?" he merely opened his mouth, and squinted at his sister. At odd times he clenched his fists without apparent cause, and when discovered in solitude would be scowling at the wall, with the sheet of paper and the pencil given him for drawing circles lying blank and idle on the kitchen table. This was a change, but it was no improvement. Mrs Verloc including all these vagaries under the general definition of excitement, began to fear that Stevie was hearing more than was good for him of her husband's conversations with his ...
— The Secret Agent - A Simple Tale • Joseph Conrad

... next day, which was Sunday, they remained at Nantucket; there is a pretty little church in the town, and Charlie, Harry, and Mr. Smith attended service there; the rest of the gentlemen preferring to idle away the morning in a ...
— Elinor Wyllys - Vol. I • Susan Fenimore Cooper

... accomplished before the sight is taken. Next, take your sextant and test it for index error. This should be done regularly before each series of sights as it is impossible to tell what may have happened when the sextant is lying idle, except by the above test. Now, with your sextant, watch and notebook, go to the place from which you have decided to take your observations and, at the proper watch time, start taking your altitudes. ...
— Lectures in Navigation • Ernest Gallaudet Draper

... your idle assemblies, and conferences, otherwise, then in talke of matter, either aboue your Capacities, for hardnesse: or contrary to your ...
— The Mathematicall Praeface to Elements of Geometrie of Euclid of Megara • John Dee

... "The idle rich," she said, smiling. "Yes, but you see you shouldn't have. When you saw me coming ...
— The Brother of Daphne • Dornford Yates

... Prussians 3,000" and the Field).] Preussen now lies at Apraxin's discretion. This bit of news too is on the road for Erfurt Country. Such a six weeks for the swift man, obliged to stand spell-bound,—idle posterity never will conceive it; ...
— History of Friedrich II. of Prussia, Vol. XVIII. (of XXI.) - Frederick The Great—Seven-Years War Rises to a Height.—1757-1759. • Thomas Carlyle

... lust, conclude in perjuries; Beauty, and Youth, and Wealth, and Luxury, And sprightly Hope and short-enduring Joy, And Sorceries, to raise the infernal powers, And Sigils framed in planetary hours; Expense, and After-thought, and idle Care, And Doubts of motley hue, and dark Despair; Suspicions and fantastical Surmise, And Jealousy suffused, with jaundice in her eyes, Discolouring all she viewed, in tawny dressed, Down-looked, and with a cuckow on her ...
— Palamon and Arcite • John Dryden

... little recovered I had great trouble to keep off the men, who wished to ask him a thousand questions; but I would not allow him to be tormented by their idle curiosity, in a state of body and mind whose restoration evidently depended upon entire repose. Once, however, the lieutenant asked why he had come so far upon the ice in so ...
— Frankenstein - or The Modern Prometheus • Mary Wollstonecraft (Godwin) Shelley

... I found a score or more of idle artisans, banished by the on-sweeping tourists and completely forgotten by me in the excitement of the hour. Commanding them to fetch their files, saws, broad-axes and augurs, I led the way to the mighty doors that barred my entrance ...
— A Fool and His Money • George Barr McCutcheon

... deceive, if not fairly conditioned. As we have seen, it is claimed on excellent authority that the equivalent of 4,000 candles appeared in an arc by expending 40,000 foot pounds of energy at the generator, but with everyday conditions it is at present idle to expect such efficiency. Commercially we can give by our own system 3,000 candles for 40,000 foot pounds absorbed; this may be done for an indefinite length of time and leave nothing to be desired on the score of steadiness. Unfortunately there is no unit of photometric measurement ...
— Scientific American Supplement, No. 315, January 14, 1882 • Various

... yacht in its cleanness and order, and in these respects vied with the men-of-war that he had so often watched from the heights of Dover. He had, however, but little time for admiration; for he was kept at work rubbing and polishing the guns and brass-work, and was not idle for a minute from the time he came on deck dressed as a cabin-boy on the morning after he was picked up until sunset. There were two French boys about his own age forward, and as soon as his work was done and the evening ...
— One of the 28th • G. A. Henty

... of Health throughout the country, hear it! Then you will be able to judge how exceedingly frivolous the idle opinions and reports are which you have obtruded so industriously upon ...
— Letters on the Cholera Morbus. • James Gillkrest

... a strange way. I have never seen her either weep, or smile, or work, or read, since that terrible day. I must take back part of that. She does smile, as she sits idle, playing with her fingers,—smiles and moves her lips like—But I cannot bear to write what she is like. I will never believe it. She was in a state of excitement, and this blow has staggered her. But she will recover. God will not deal with us ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 18, No. 108, October, 1866 • Various

... celebrated the feasts of the Roman Goddes Flora, or the beasly practieses of the madd Bacchinalians. Morton likewise (to shew his poetrie) composed sundry rimes & verses, some tending to lasciviousnes, and others to the detraction & scandall of some persons, which he affixed to this idle or idoll May-polle. They chainged allso the name of their place, and in stead of calling it Mounte Wollaston, they call it Merie-mounte, as if this joylity would ...
— The American Mind - The E. T. Earl Lectures • Bliss Perry

... a hearty laugh, "I respect myself more for having never once got the best mark for an exercise than I should do if I had got it every time it could be got. I am glad nothing could make me do Latin and Greek verses; I am glad Skinner could never get any moral influence over me; I am glad I was idle at school, and I am glad my father overtasked me as a boy—otherwise, likely enough I should have acquiesced in the swindle, and might have written as good a copy of Alcaics about the dogs of the monks of St ...
— The Way of All Flesh • Samuel Butler

... haunts me! I can't explain to you why, but I feel there is something we haven't discovered yet,—something we ought to know. It isn't just 'idle curiosity' as Professor Marlow would call it! I never knew or heard of anything that went so—so deep in me as this thing has. That poor, loving, proud mother, and her terrible misunderstanding with her splendid son!— He was right, ...
— The Boarded-Up House • Augusta Huiell Seaman

... the persecuted merchant of Bourges, the lost Agnes Sorel and the turbulent and revolted Dauphin; and had retired to his castle of pleasure at Mehun-sur-Yevre, where he could best conceal from prying eyes the idle occupations and degrading enjoyments which filled the time of the hero of other's swords. He had just concluded a peace with Savoy, and had rejected, as vexatious, the petitions of his subjects ...
— Barn and the Pyrenees - A Legendary Tour to the Country of Henri Quatre • Louisa Stuart Costello

... said the maiden as she sat in the shade of the old apple tree. "I believe I have been dreaming. But this is too beautiful a day to idle it away. I will go and do something for some one to make others see its ...
— Fireside Stories for Girls in Their Teens • Margaret White Eggleston

... subjects to write about—there is something there for study. These fellows are good for nothing under any government. I will, however, give them pensions, because I ought to do so, as Head of the State. They occupy and amuse the idle. I will make Lagrange a ...
— The Memoirs of Napoleon Bonaparte • Bourrienne, Constant, and Stewarton

... he whispered, "God hath surely found thee worthy to be one of His holy angels, so hast thou stooped from heaven to teach to me my duty. Thus now will I set by my idle grieving for thee, sweet saint, and strive to live thy worthy son—O dear my mother, ...
— Beltane The Smith • Jeffery Farnol

... this to Pico when he returned a little later. He was quick to perceive the opportunity that offered, but far from sure that Pico would suffer his daughter to be used as a decoy; far, indeed, from sure that he dared himself so employ her. But on the morrow, chancing to look from a window out of idle curiosity to see what horse it was that was pacing in the street below, he beheld a man in a rich cloak, in whom at once he recognized the Duke, and he accounted that the dice of destiny ...
— The Historical Nights' Entertainment • Rafael Sabatini

... the same sickness years ago, and he's had a feelin' heart for the sufferers in this calamity. I tell you, elder, that he's good to everybody, and if he does not take hold to work in the way that father does, his head and heart are never idle. I am sorry that he and father do not see more alike. The boy is goin' to do well in ...
— In The Boyhood of Lincoln - A Tale of the Tunker Schoolmaster and the Times of Black Hawk • Hezekiah Butterworth

... Jerusalem, too, the natives were sent to labour on the roads and to clean up some of the filth that the Turks had allowed to accumulate for years, if not for generations, inside the Holy City. The Army not merely provided work for idle hands but enabled starving bodies to be vitalised. Food was brought into Jerusalem, and with the cash wages old and young labourers could get more than a sufficiency. The native in the hills proved to be a good road repairer, ...
— How Jerusalem Was Won - Being the Record of Allenby's Campaign in Palestine • W.T. Massey

... dens are to be closed after six months. These are places where smokers dream away the night in company with the idle and ...
— The Awakening of China • W.A.P. Martin

... ago there lived a widow who had three sons. The two eldest were grown up, and though they were known to be idle fellows, some of the neighbours had given them work to do on account of the respect in which their mother was held. But at the time this story begins they had both been so careless and idle that their masters declared they would keep ...
— The Orange Fairy Book • Various

... Peter or Stimson idle. To assist Stetson in his press-work, and to further the idea that all Europe was now clamoring for the "Rise and fall," Peter paid an impecunious but over-educated dragoman to translate it into five languages, and Stimson officially wrote of this, ...
— The Red Cross Girl • Richard Harding Davis

... before. And so for seven days they fared in that forest, and seven stags were slain. Then Oisin grew wearied of hunting, and as he plunged his sharp black hunting-knife into the throat of the last stag, he thought of the sword of magic temper that hung idle by his side in the City of Youth, or rested from its golden nail in his bed-chamber, and he said to Niam, "Has thy father never a foe to tame, never a wrong to avenge? Surely the peasant is no ...
— The High Deeds of Finn and other Bardic Romances of Ancient Ireland • T. W. Rolleston

... be required before the film of copper becomes sufficiently thick to protect the tin from corrosion when the cell stands idle. For this reason it will be necessary to pour out the blue vitriol solution into another receptacle immediately after through using, as otherwise the tin would be soon eaten full of holes. The porous cup should always be emptied after using to prevent the diffusion of the blue ...
— The Boy Mechanic: Volume 1 - 700 Things For Boys To Do • Popular Mechanics

... Bible which had been given Emily by her Aunt Lucy, on her seventh birthday, and showed her father how all its blank leaves were covered with Annas. Her father took the book with reverence, and Emily understood and felt the seriousness with which he examined her idle scrawls. It was a look that would have risen up before her and made her stay her hand, should she ever again in her life-long have been tempted thus to misuse the word of God; just as the angel stood before Balaam in the narrow path he was struggling to push through. But Emily never again ...
— The Life and Letters of Elizabeth Prentiss • George L. Prentiss

... It was an idle half-hour, and when the despatcher at Exeter heard his call he glanced up from a magazine, listened a moment, and impatiently remarking, "Some idiot student!" returned to ...
— The Young Railroaders - Tales of Adventure and Ingenuity • Francis Lovell Coombs

... The captain, to show he is proud of the favour, Looks up to your window, and cocks up his beaver; (His beaver is cock'd: pray, madam, mark that, For a captain of horse never takes off his hat, Because he has never a hand that is idle, For the right holds the sword, and the left holds the bridle;) Then flourishes thrice his sword in the air, As a compliment due to a lady so fair; (How I tremble to think of the blood it has spilt!) Then he lowers down the point, and kisses ...
— Poems (Volume II.) • Jonathan Swift

... a valuable one for purposes of agitation, and it is used by the Socialists to the fullest extent. The workers are told: "The children are too ill provided for to be educated. This is not because the worker is idle or thriftless, but actually because he is too industrious and produces so much that his labour as a producer is at a discount. It is objected that to provide free State maintenance for all the children would be to destroy ...
— British Socialism - An Examination of Its Doctrines, Policy, Aims and Practical Proposals • J. Ellis Barker

... to behold it, might for his sake condemn it. Those ears, which in heaven unceasingly hear "Holy, Holy, Holy," vouchsafed on earth to be filled with: "Thou hast a devil,—Crucify him, Crucify him!" to the intent that thine ears might not be deaf to the cry of the poor, nor, open to idle tales, should readily receive the poison of detraction or of adulation. That fair face of him that was fairer than the children of men, yea, than thousands of angels, was bedaubed with spitting, afflicted with blows, given up to mockery, to the end that thy face might be enlightened, ...
— The World's Best Orations, Vol. 1 (of 10) • Various

... twelve days since, but to this must be added the fact that all Littlebath knew that he had done so. Miss Todd, after the first ebullition of her comic spleen, had not said much about it; but Miss P. Gauntlet's tongue had not been idle. She, perhaps, had told it only to the godly; but the godly, let them be ever so exclusive, must have some intercourse with the wicked world; and thus every lady in Littlebath now knew all about it. And then ...
— The Bertrams • Anthony Trollope

... to bomb New York from the air has a big surprise coming to him—a lot of big surprises. The war department may not have been doing much advertising, but it has not been idle." ...
— The Apartment Next Door • William Andrew Johnston

... to some of us it comes to be tragic and dreadful at last, as we sit helpless, and see the shore rush past and hear the roar of the falls in our ears, like some poor wretch caught in the glassy smoothness above Niagara, who has flung down the oars, and, clutching the gunwale with idle hands, sits effortless and breathless till the plunge comes. Many a despairing voice has prayed as the sands ran out, and joys fled, 'Sun, stand thou still on Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon,' but in vain. Once the wish was answered; but, for all ...
— Expositions of Holy Scripture - St. Mark • Alexander Maclaren

... that it was all the Lord's doing, "Then," said he, "you are the instruments, and what a blessed thing it is to have parents who guide and instruct us in the way;" and added, "O what will become of those children who idle about on the Sabbath day, who swear and steal. O shocking! shocking! O what a blessing to have good parents." On requesting to see his brothers, they came to him; and taking them by the hand, he asked them how they did. To his little brother Henry ...
— Stories of Boys and Girls Who Loved the Saviour - A Token for Children • John Wesley

... though they have lost themselves, or are lost, exhale their idle sweets for him; the spire peeps for him; sod-seats, forests, clouds, nature's charities, and babbling brooks, all are to him luxury and friendship. He is the happiest of mortals, and plods, is forlorn, and has a wounded ...
— Early Reviews of English Poets • John Louis Haney

... the questioning remember the purposes of the recitation. Ask questions knowing exactly what you wish as an answer. There is no time for aimless or idle questioning. ...
— The Teaching of History • Ernest C. Hartwell

... on correspondence, looking after the estate, discharging social duties, filled up every moment of his time. Superintending the house, the garden, corresponding, and a hundred other labours, filled up every moment of hers. They were never idle; to rise socially and politically requires as great or greater work than for a poor ...
— Hodge and His Masters • Richard Jefferies

... when the footman had departed with his card, too restless—too eager—to be seated. In one of his turns about the room his eyes alighted on an object which instantly arrested his idle steps. It was a woman's photograph, lying on a small table, as though placed there by a careless hand and then forgotten. A tiny object to work such an effect, but it was enough to bring ...
— High Noon - A New Sequel to 'Three Weeks' by Elinor Glyn • Anonymous

... had grown afraid of Manchon because of his pretty apparent leanings toward Joan, for another recorder was in the chief place here, which left my master and me nothing to do but sit idle and look on. ...
— Innocents abroad • Mark Twain

... sunlight; there was the Piazza di Spagna, the lively meeting-place of foreigners, with its double flight of a hundred and thirty steps gilded by the sun; there was the vast Piazza Colonna, always swarming with people, and the most Italian of all the Roman squares from the presence of the idle, careless crowd which ever lounged round the column of Marcus Aurelius as if waiting for fortune to fall from heaven; there was also the long and regular Piazza Navona, deserted since the market was no longer held there, and retaining a melancholy ...
— The Three Cities Trilogy, Complete - Lourdes, Rome and Paris • Emile Zola

... Beauty of the wood, the verdant walls of which were to separate him forever from the world of cities. Henceforth, he could be himself, could move freely, dress as he wished, or give way to his dreaming, without fearing to encounter the ironical looks of idle and wondering neighbors. For the first time since his departure from his former home, he experienced a feeling of joy and serenity; the influence of the surroundings, so much in harmony with his wishes, unlocked his tongue, and ...
— A Woodland Queen, Complete • Andre Theuriet

... Tories and the faint praise with which it was damned by the Whigs. Even Lord John was forced to confess that the apathy of the country was undeniable. A more sweeping measure would have had a better chance, but so long as Lord Palmerston was at the head of affairs it was idle to expect it. Lord John recognised the inevitable after a succession of dreary debates, and the measure was withdrawn on June 11. Lord John's first important speech in the House of Commons was made in the year of Peterloo, when he brought forward, thirteen years before ...
— Lord John Russell • Stuart J. Reid

... as I could tell, my shadowy enemy with the axe had taken himself away for good and all, but I was so fearful of recalling him that I kept altogether idle, and in other respects nursed and coddled myself with a constant assiduity. But it is a hard thing for a man who has accustomed himself to constant mental employment to go without it, and in the absence of pens, ink, and paper, books and journals, the procession bade ...
— Schwartz: A History - From "Schwartz" by David Christie Murray • David Christie Murray

... estates on which these peasants lived and about the rents which they had to pay, and the services which they had to do. But how did they feel and think and amuse themselves when they were not working? Rents and services are only outside things; an estate book only describes routine. It would be idle to try to picture the life of a university from a study of its lecture list, and it is equally idle to try and describe the life of Bodo from the estate book of his masters. It is no good taking your meals in the kitchen if ...
— Medieval People • Eileen Edna Power

... don't believe what I say," concluded the lecturer, "just come out to New South Wales and see for yourselves if I have not told you the plain, unvarnished truth; and I repeat what I have said before, that although it is no place for the idle rich, for the man or the woman who wants to work it is not ...
— The Adventurous Seven - Their Hazardous Undertaking • Bessie Marchant

... nearest and dearest to Coleridge by affection and biood have left on record their sentiments respecting him in the following language. His nephew says: "Coleridge was a student all his life. He was very rarely indeed idle in the common sense of the term, but he was consitutionally indolent, averse from continuous exertion externally directed, and consequently the victim of a procrastinating habit, the occasion of innumerable distresses to himself and ...
— The Opium Habit • Horace B. Day

... companions his own history of the recent dialogue, in which, according to his own account of the matter, he had completely gotten the better of that "young upstart, Blunt," a man of whom he knew positively nothing, divers anecdotes of the Effingham family, that came of the lowest and most idle gossip of rustic malignancy, and his own vague and confused notions of the rights of persons and of things. Very different was the conversation that ensued in the ladies' cabin, after the welcome disappearance of the uninvited guest. Not a remark of any sort was made on his intrusion, ...
— Homeward Bound - or, The Chase • James Fenimore Cooper

... ascertain, another and even more painful phenomenon appears in our great cities—a dangerous class. How it arose is not yet clear. That the Reformation had something to do with the matter, we can hardly doubt. At the dissolution of the monasteries, the more idle, ignorant, and profligate members of the mendicant orders, unable to live any longer on the alms of the public, sunk, probably, into vicious penury. The frightful misgovernment of this country during the minority of Edward the Sixth, especially the conversion of tilled lands into pasture, ...
— Sanitary and Social Lectures and Essays • Charles Kingsley

... longs to hear the clatter of wooden shoes. If he had his way he would have laws enacted forbidding peasant folk to change their ancient costumes. He would preserve every relic of feudalism. He bitterly laments the division of great estates. A nobleman's park with its beautiful idle acres, its deer, its pheasants, and its scurrying rabbits, is so much more pleasant to look at than a succession of market-gardens. Poachers, game-keepers, and squires are alike interesting, if only they ...
— Humanly Speaking • Samuel McChord Crothers

... midnight in a sister's arms to die. Oh thou wert lovely; lovely was thy frame, And pure thy spirit as from heaven it came: And when recall'd to join the blest above Thou diedst a victim to exceeding love, Nursing the young to health. In happier hours, When idle Fancy wove luxuriant flowers, Once in thy mirth thou badst me write on thee And now I write ...
— Critical and Historical Essays Volume 2 • Thomas Babington Macaulay

... without taste or smell. It is prepared from opium and Spanish flies, combined with some other ingredients, which, however, are only known to the makers of it. That the Acqua Tofana is made from the foam sometimes found upon the lips of the dying, is an idle tale. Allessandro Borgia was the first to bring it ...
— The Daughter of an Empress • Louise Muhlbach

... personal attributes, or criticism of his appearance, or anything which might be repeated, maliciously or otherwise, to that man. He did not say to Miguel Rapponi, for instance, what he thought of Andy Green as a man or a rider. He did not mention him at all. He had learned in bitterness how idle gossip may eat away the efficiency ...
— The Phantom Herd • B. M. Bower

... him time to reply, she continued: "Then it was only idle curiosity that brought you here. You wished to know the source of the money which you spend like water. Very well, you may see for yourself. This is a gambling house; one of those establishments frequented by distinguished personages, which the police ignore, or which they cannot suppress. ...
— Baron Trigault's Vengeance - Volume 2 (of 2) • Emile Gaboriau

... possession and privilege and power above the law of love, then nations will inevitably do the same. If there is constant jealousy and rivalry and disagreement among individuals there will surely be the same among nations, and it is idle for Mr. Bryan to talk about putting our trust in love collectively when we do nothing of the sort individually. Would Mr. Bryan put his trust in love if he felt himself the victim of ...
— The Conquest of America - A Romance of Disaster and Victory • Cleveland Moffett

... understanding, hated this name because of Mrs. Magwire, whose most merciless taunt was, "Sure ye're well named, ye idle dthreamer." ...
— Solomon Crow's Christmas Pockets and Other Tales • Ruth McEnery Stuart

... last cigar is smoked and the box is splintered and gone, And only the faintest whiff of the dear old smell hangs on, In the times when he's idle or thoughtful, When he's lonesome, jolly or blue, And he fingers his useless matches, What is a poor fellow ...
— Memories and Anecdotes • Kate Sanborn

... sense in the horse's foot is useful, it would be idle to deny; but that it is absolutely essential, even to safe progression, no one who has paid attention to the results of plantar neurectomy will maintain. On several occasions for years I have hunted, hacked, and driven horses which have been deprived ...
— Diseases of the Horse's Foot • Harry Caulton Reeks

... cane-honey,[FN10] said to him, "Did I not bid thee bring it with bees' honey? Wilt thou contrary my wish and have it dressed with cane-honey?" He excused himself to her, saying, "I bought it not save on credit;" but said she, "This talk is idle; I will not eat Kunafah save with bees' honey." And she was wroth with it and threw it in his face, saying, "Begone, thou pimp, and bring me other than this !" Then she dealt him a buffet on the cheek and knocked out one of his teeth. The blood ran down upon his breast and for stress ...
— The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night, Volume 10 • Richard F. Burton

... the hereditary distinctions that clash with the mental superiority that naturally raises a man above his fellows. He did not perceive, that the regal power, in a few generations, introduces idiotism into the noble stem, and holds out baits to render thousands idle and vicious. ...
— A Vindication of the Rights of Woman - Title: Vindication of the Rights of Women • Mary Wollstonecraft [Godwin]

... human being within hearing who understands the statement, and the statement must be false. But it is arguable that the latter of these facts need not be known, as certainly the falsity of the charge need not be, and that a man must take the risk of even an idle statement being heard, unless he made it under known circumstances of privilege. It would be no great curtailment of freedom to deny a man immunity in attaching a charge of crime to the name of his neighbor, even when he supposes himself alone. But it does not seem clear that the law ...
— The Common Law • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

... ill-natured to me, and often plagues me very much. It was only yesterday he broke the best hoe, by knocking stones about with it, and then told master it was my doing. Besides, he is idle, and does not mind what is said to him, and often ...
— The Apricot Tree • Unknown

... that dreary contemplation of the white paper and the idle pen. He went into the frozen and deserted streets, hoping that he might pluck the burning coal from his heart, but the fire was not quenched. As he walked furiously along the grim iron roads he fancied that those persons who passed him cheerfully on their way to friends ...
— The Hill of Dreams • Arthur Machen

... might eventually get 70 horse power in a boat of that size, because the weight of the motor was not great. With regard to the formation of a film on the surface, no doubt a film of sulphate of lead was formed if the battery stood idle, but it did not considerably reduce its efficiency; as soon as it was broke through by the energy being evolved from it, it would give off its maximum current. They knew by experience that, with properly constructed ...
— Scientific American Supplement, No. 430, March 29, 1884 • Various

... on the ground to my house, a distance of forty rods, and threw her in at the door. Hiokatoo, my husband, exasperated at the sight of so much inhumanity, hastily took down his old tomahawk, which for awhile had lain idle, shook it over the cuckold's head, and bade him jogo (i. e. go off.) The enraged husband, well knowing that he should feel a blow if he waited to hear the order repeated, instantly retreated, and went down the river to his cattle. We protected the poor Nanticoke woman, and gave ...
— A Narrative of the Life of Mrs. Mary Jemison • James E. Seaver

... regretted the hour when he gave the struggling boy such timely assistance. The discipline of the life through which he was passing as the main stay of his mother, matured his mind and imparted to it a thoughtfulness past his years. Instead of wasting his time in idle and pernicious pleasure, he learned how to use his surplus dollar and how to spend his leisure hours, and this knowledge told upon his life and character. He was not very popular in society. Young men with cigars in their mouths and the perfume of liquor on their breaths, shrugged ...
— Trial and Triumph • Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

... still cherished an enduring faith in this old prophecy. But others, who had seen more of the world, had watched and waited till they were weary, and had beheld no man with such a face, nor any man that proved to be much greater or nobler than his neighbors, concluded it to be nothing but an idle tale. At all events, the great man of the ...
— Junior Classics, V6 • Various

... whiling away an idle month in cruises up and down that New England coast which, once stern and rock-bound, has come to be the smiling home of midsummer pleasures, encounters at each little port into which he may run, moldering and decrepit wharves, crowned with ...
— American Merchant Ships and Sailors • Willis J. Abbot

... attainments as those of Teresa, if only to support my failing faith in the words of my Master. I had rather believe every syllable of Teresa's so-staggering locutions and visions than be left to this, that ever since Paul and John went home to heaven our Lord's greatest promises have been so many idle words. It is open to any man to scoff and sneer at Teresa's extraordinary life of prayer, and at the manifestations of the Father and the Son that were made to her in her life of prayer, and some of her biographers and censors among ourselves ...
— Santa Teresa - an Appreciation: with some of the best passages of the Saint's Writings • Alexander Whyte

... kraals for cover; and Commandant Mentz had with fifty burghers stormed this ridge, shooting down from thirty to forty of the enemy, and taking twenty-five prisoners. We lost two killed and three wounded. The Frankfort burghers under Commandant Ross had also not been idle, for they had attacked a division of Colonel Rimington's troops with the result that sixteen killed and wounded fell into their hands—among these were seven of ...
— Three Years' War • Christiaan Rudolf de Wet

... his wife in the little graveyard. For days after the funeral Eugenia wandered like a shadow through the still rooms. Bernard had come and gone, carrying with him his short, sharp grief. Miss Chris had put aside her own sorrow and gone back to the management of the house; only the girl, worn, idle, tragic, haunted the reminders of her loss. Coming upon the general's old slouch hat on the rack, she had grasped it in sudden passionate longing; at the sight of his half-filled pipe she had rushed from the room and from the house. The faint scent of tobacco about the furniture ...
— The Voice of the People • Ellen Glasgow

... gauzes, horses, linens and calicoes, candles, bricks and tiles, paper, and hackney-coaches; and he also proposed licences to dealers in exciseable articles, and certificates to kill game. In commenting upon these taxes, the young premier observed:—"It would be idle to suppose that all the taxes in this long catalogue were unexceptionable; but the necessities of the public leave us no option to deal otherwise than openly and fairly. The wants of government are many; the finances of the country have been much reduced; ...
— The History of England in Three Volumes, Vol.III. - From George III. to Victoria • E. Farr and E. H. Nolan

... booming, ominous, the roar continued. The sail flapped idle on the mast. Stern could distinguish a long line of foam that slid away, past the boat, as only foam slides on ...
— Darkness and Dawn • George Allan England

... nest in the thick bough of a tree which overhung a high paling. Here they fancied themselves secure from the prying eyes of idle boys or marauding cats. The hen laid her eggs in her new abode, and in due time several fledgelings were hatched, which her faithful mate assisted her to rear. While in the full enjoyment of their happiness, watching over ...
— Stories of Animal Sagacity • W.H.G. Kingston

... day had hardly begun, and the idle salesman saw the wink. Jack walked up to him and ...
— Crowded Out o' Crofield - or, The Boy who made his Way • William O. Stoddard

... self-forgetfulness. Afterward, when mother was married and had the happiness of her five daughters at heart, she induced each one of us to take up something of absorbing interest, in order that there might be no empty, idle days when discontent could creep in. That is how I came to study medicine, and that is how I learned to love the word 'homely' in its first and best sense. She taught me the definitions which I have ...
— Cicely and Other Stories • Annie Fellows Johnston

... would not allow him to remain idle at home, so he joined a party of trappers who were going to trap the streams of the Laramie and Chugwater for otter, beaver and other animals possessing valuable fur, as well as to ...
— Beadle's Boy's Library of Sport, Story and Adventure, Vol. I, No. 1. - Adventures of Buffalo Bill from Boyhood to Manhood • Prentiss Ingraham

... years of service here, should not be free to marry, providing he takes a vow to render full service to the Order whenever called upon to do so. Already the vow of poverty is everywhere broken. Already, in defiance of their oaths, too many knights lead idle and dissolute lives. Already, knights, when in their own countries, disregard the rule that they shall draw sword in no cause save that of the Holy Sepulchre, and, like other knights and nobles, take part in civil strife or foreign wars. All this is a scandal, ...
— A Knight of the White Cross • G.A. Henty

... long summer hours The golden light should lie, And thick young herbs and groups of flowers Stand in their beauty by; The oriole should build and tell His love-tale close beside my cell; The idle butterfly Should rest him there, and there be heard ...
— Library Of The World's Best Literature, Ancient And Modern, Vol 6 • Various

... y'are idle:—till they ha forc'd him To cancell his late lawlesse bond he seal'd At the high Altar to his Florentine Strumpet, And in his bed lay ...
— Old English Plays, Vol. I - A Collection of Old English Plays • Various

... Pagello. He asked her to whom he was to give the letter. George Sand took the envelope back and wrote on it: "To stupid Pagello." We have this declaration, and among other things in the letter are the following lines: "You will not deceive me, anyhow. You will not make any idle promises and false vows. . . . I shall not, perhaps, find in you what I have sought for in others, but, at any rate, I can always believe that you possess it. . . . I shall be able to interpret your meditations and make your silence speak eloquently. . . ." This shows us clearly the kind of ...
— George Sand, Some Aspects of Her Life and Writings • Rene Doumic

... when deprived of the ballot the consequence is that this inalienable right is abridged, then society owes it to the class thus practically enslaved to bestow suffrage upon them. At the South there is no safety for the negro from oppressive laws but in the ballot. It is idle to argue ignorance. Political enfranchisement ...
— History of Woman Suffrage, Volume II • Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda Joslyn Gage

... come back to her; that being misspent they had passed away; that a new worker had come to drop seed into the unoccupied heart; that never again would Sadie be as fresh, and as guileless, and as easily won, as in those days which she had let slip in idle, ...
— Ester Ried • Pansy (aka. Isabella M. Alden)

... and wear the prize, Let each divide the crown, The deeds of Harlowe and of Thayer, Are equal in renown. Stop arguing and get to work, For that is why we're here, Don't waste your time in idle words, The ...
— Grace Harlowe's Fourth Year at Overton College • Jessie Graham Flower

... for an influx of Southern Britons, might be Aberdeen; Christ-church, population and all, might be planted in Warwickshire, and no tourist would know that it was not indigenous there. They call their local stream the Avon, and boating there some idle summer days, I easily dreamed myself at home again, and within bow-shot of the skyward-pointing spire which covers the bones of Shakespeare. It is, I believe, a fact that the stream is christened after another river than that which owes its ...
— Recollections • David Christie Murray

... corporate life. And yet it was "tied up" with a legal disability—left largely useless and waste. It looked as if when the legal spell was finally broken, as it must be, and the land so long unprofitable and idle should be apportioned to these human needs, it would be neither the Clarks nor the community that would derive benefit from it,—certainly not the people who would live upon it,—but some gang of skillful ...
— Clark's Field • Robert Herrick

... figure, which, owing, as we understood, to a fall in her childhood, was hopelessly deformed, though still strongly set and muscular. Albeit, a sum of money—about fifty pounds—scraped together by thrifty self-denial during a dozen years of servitude, amply compensated in the eyes of several idle and needy young fellows for the unlovely outline of her person; and Anne, with an infatuation too common with persons of her class and condition, and in spite of repeated warning, and the secret misgivings, one would suppose, of her own mind, married the best-looking, but most ...
— Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, No. 431 - Volume 17, New Series, April 3, 1852 • Various

... wife as I could. I should have hated and loathed it, but I should have become accustomed to it in time. But this vile action of yours makes all the difference. When you and I part after this painful conversation, we part for good. We shall be talked about; there will be a lot of idle gossip, but I care nothing for that. And if you raise a hand, if you try to use the law on your side, I produce that telegram ...
— The Slave of Silence • Fred M. White

... round with a smile, slightly conscious. The position he had occupied for some three years, of the idle and penniless husband dependent on his wife's dollars, was not, he knew, an exalted one ...
— Marriage a la mode • Mrs. Humphry Ward

... said, sarcastically, "that a mere head-covering, elegant in its day, could make more hostility than an idle head? I will tell you the silly secret of it. When I came from the obscurity of the forest, sensitive, and anxious to make my way, and slowly gathered capital and knowledge, a person in New York directed a letter of inquiry to me. It ...
— The Entailed Hat - Or, Patty Cannon's Times • George Alfred Townsend

... not sorry to escape with his dignity and so cheap a masterpiece. Kloot was left, with swinging legs, dominating the situation. In idle curiosity and with the simplicity of perfectly bad manners, he took up the poet's papers and letters and perused them. As there were scraps of verse amid the mass, Pinchas let him ...
— Ghetto Comedies • Israel Zangwill

... Awgwa looked around upon this vast army and his heart beat high with wicked pride, for he believed he would surely triumph over his gentle enemies, who had never before been known to fight. But the Master Woodsman had not been idle. None of his people was used to warfare, yet now that they were called upon to face the hosts of evil they willingly prepared ...
— The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus • L. Frank Baum

... a fresh start in company. It consisted of more than a dozen persons, in all; the black domestics of the family being present, as well as several mechanics whom Captain Willoughby had employed to carry on his improvements. The men sent in advance had not been idle, any more than those left at the Hutted Knoll. They had built three or four skiffs, one small batteau, and a couple of canoes. These were all in the water, in waiting for the disappearance of the ice; which was now reduced to a mass of stalactites ...
— Wyandotte • James Fenimore Cooper

... seventeenth century the idle dancing youth of to-day had his prototype in the Cavalier Servente, who hovered at his lady's side, affecting extravagant ...
— Woman as Decoration • Emily Burbank

... Hence shadows seeming idle shapes Of little frisking elves and apes, To earth do make their wanton 'scapes As hope of pastime ...
— Johnson's Notes to Shakespeare Vol. I Comedies • Samuel Johnson

... stock. We stopped to take a tumbler of milk fresh from the cow; declined an invitation to go in, as we were anxious to finish our journey while it was cool; and after a hard ride galloped into the courtyard of Atlacamulco, which seemed like returning home. We spent a pleasant, idle day, lying down and reading while the sun was high, and in the evening sauntering about under the orange trees. We concluded with ...
— Life in Mexico • Frances Calderon de la Barca

... a dollar invested with us and increasing and yielding day by day and the dollar which you use to purchase a few moments idle diversion or pleasure. The latter is lost forever—the dollar put to earning ...
— Business Correspondence • Anonymous

... therein Full measure and set her to take her wreak of the favours she did show. For know that her blows fall sudden and swift and unawares, though long The time of forbearance be and halt the coming of fate and slow. So look to thyself, lest life in the world pass idle and profitless by, And see that thou fail not of taking thought to the end of all below. Cast loose from the chains of the love and the wish of the world and thou shalt find Guidance and help unto righteousness and peace ...
— The Book Of The Thousand Nights And One Night, Volume III • Anonymous

... I rose from the fire, and approached the great trunk to examine it. Had it been in an inhabited country we should have thought nothing of it—for then we should have fancied that some one had been cutting out figures in the bark of the tree for their amusement—perhaps some idle boys—as I have often done myself, and so had Ben, when he was an idle boy. But during all that day's ramble we had met with no human being, nor had we seen either sign or track of one; and we were pretty certain, from what we had been told, that ...
— Ran Away to Sea • Mayne Reid



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