twiddle your thumbs

twiddle (one's) thumbs

To wait idly because one cannot take action or has nothing to do at the moment. Although "twiddling one's thumbs" is an actual gesture (in which one's fingers are interlaced and each thumb is brought over the other in succession), the phrase is usually used figuratively. Oh, I'm just twiddling my thumbs in the ER, waiting for someone to give me an update on Claire's condition.
See also: thumb, twiddle

twiddle your thumbs

be bored or idle because you have nothing to do.
See also: thumb, twiddle

ˌtwiddle your ˈthumbs

(informal) do nothing while you are waiting for something to happen: I had to sit at home twiddling my thumbs, waiting for the phone to ring.
If you twiddle your thumbs, you move them around each other while your fingers are joined together.
See also: thumb, twiddle
References in periodicals archive ?
Not only do we no longer live in a meritocracy where it is the best individual for the job regardless of gender, but we are now being told that even if you choose to twiddle your thumbs all day you should still be paid the same and have the same rights as someone dedicated to their job and company's success.