to twiddle your thumbs

Idiom Definition

Idiom Definition - twiddle your thumbs

"to twiddle your thumbs"

to have nothing useful to do while you are waiting for something to happen


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - twiddle your thumbs

Two colleagues are talking ...

Colleague 1:  Why are you sitting around twiddling your thumbs? Don't you have work to do?

Colleague 2:  There is really nothing I can do but wait. The server is down. The IT department tells me it will be another hour before the computers are back up and running.

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - twiddle your thumbs

Two students are talking ...

Student 1:  Well? Have you been accepted to graduate school?

Student 2:  I am still waiting to hear.

Student 1:  What are you going to do in the meantime?

Student 2:  What can I do but sit and twiddle my thumbs. It is not like I can make any plans until I know the outcome.

to twiddle your thumbs - Usage:


Usage Frequency Index:   393   click for frequency by country

to twiddle your thumbs - Gerund Form:

Twiddling his thumbs was very difficult for the busy executive.

to twiddle your thumbs - Examples:

1)  Involved citizens can't just sit around twiddling their thumbs waiting for change to happen.

2)  Love their work and can't bear the thought of sitting around twiddling their thumbs, ...

3)  ... rest assured that scientists are not sitting around twiddling their thumbs but are actively tackling each challenge along the way. 

4)  ... isn't the sort of captain to sit around twiddling his thumbs and issuing orders. He's almost suicidally hands-on, ...

5)  ... says he often feels like he's twiddling his thumbs waiting for someone to need him, but that's the problem.

6)  ... has clearly not spent the past 12 months twiddling his thumbs, but has been in the studio writing truthful and emotional lyrics.

7)  ... it will be no problem for him to be sitting around twiddling his thumbs.

8)  But the director hasn't been twiddling his thumbs for the past 40 years: he has made more than 400 commercials.

9)  ... into two groups, each getting a minimum of three games, while the remainder twiddle their thumbs for the majority of the summer.

10)  ... those that are homeless or have distress heaped upon them will have to twiddle their thumbs until these two parties get their act together.

11)  ... then they will not twiddle their thumbs and wait, they'll take other jobs.

12)  I've watched Canadian retailers twiddle their thumbs for 30 years and I decided to take some action.

13)  But it's not like we're sitting out there twiddling our thumbs, there's a lot of work out there to be done.

14)  ... are done leading up to the trade period and we sit around for two weeks twiddling our thumbs.

15)  Was it annoying? A little, but it was better than twiddling our thumbs waiting for servers to load. 

16)  I don't want to be home for the next few days twiddling my thumbs

17)  I came out of university twiddling my thumbs a little bit, not knowing what I wanted to do.

18)  Now I sit around twiddling my thumbs. In days gone by I could climb on a mountain and have ...

19)  ... take on internships, make sure you're getting practical work experience instead of just twiddling your thumbs or following your boss to meetings.

20)  One of the biggest issues with collaborative work is sitting around twiddling your thumbs while waiting for someone else to get their work done.