Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
For other meanings, including people named Idle, see Idle (disambiguation).
Idle is a term which generally refers to a lack of motion and/or energy.
In describing a person or machine, idle means the act of doing nothing or no work. Thus a person who spends their days doing nothing of relative importance could be said to be ¨idly passing his days.¨ A computer processor is described as idle when it is not being used by any program or application. Similarly, an engine, for example, of an automobile, may be described as idle when it is a low gear. Occupying a chat room while performing another activity and saying little or nothing is known as idling.
Idleness as dependent upon cultural norms
Typically, when one describes a machine as idle, it is an objective statement regarding its current state. However, when used to describe a person, idle typically carries a negative connotation, with the assumption that the person is wasting their time by doing nothing of value. Such a view is reflected in the proverb ¨idle hands are the devil´s workshop.¨ This interpretation of idleness is not universal - it is more typically associated with Western cultures. Other cultures believe that simply ¨being¨ (¨doing nothing¨) has its own value, and they may also reject the West´s definition of what is ¨nothing¨ and what is not.
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