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  1. #1
    inase's Avatar
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    He is an idle person.

    Hello,

    The following is my understanding about "idle" in comparison with synonyms such as "lazy" and "indolent" when it means laziness. Please let me know your take on these.

    1. He is a lazy person. (He is lazy by nature.)
    2. He is an indolent person. (He is lazy by nature and is habitually fooling around.)
    3. He is an idle person. (He is not interested in work but he shows enthusiasm for worldly pleasure such as gambling, going places, etc.)

    Inase

  2. #2
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    Re: He is an idle person.

    Indolent means lazy. It just has a different derivation. There's no necessity to be fooling around.
    The others are close enough.

  3. #3
    inase's Avatar
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    Re: He is an idle person.

    What about the difference in the level of innate laziness among the three? There seems to be a nuance that an "idle" person has acquired the habit of laziness rather recently. A "lazy" or "indolent" person may have shown laziness earlier in his/her life than an "idle" person.

  4. #4
    GoesStation is online now Moderator
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    Re: He is an idle person.

    "Idle" means unoccupied. It doesn't mean unwilling to work.
    I am not a teacher.

  5. #5
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    Re: He is an idle person.

    In AmE we rarely if ever call a person idle. We say soneone is lazy or indolent. The only difference is that the former is a 25 cent word, while the latter is a 75 cent word. In other words, lazy is the usual everyday usage, and indolent is more pretentious.

  6. #6
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: He is an idle person.

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    I don't think an idle person necessarily shows enthusiasm for pleasures such as gambling, going places.
    They might be too lazy to hit the casino.

  7. #7
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    Re: He is an idle person.

    'Idle' is a very common term used in 19th century novels to describe an independently rich young man who lives a dissolute life, and does nothing productive. He's not necessarily lazy in a strict sense.
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 11-Jun-2017 at 09:13. Reason: Fixed typo

  8. #8
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: He is an idle person.

    And in expressions like idle whim, it doesn't mean lazy, but impulsive, not thought-out, etc.

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