twiddle

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twiddle (one's) thumbs

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

be twiddling (one's) thumbs

To be waiting idly because one cannot take action or has nothing to do at the moment. Although the phrase refers to 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. I was twiddling my thumbs and minding my own business when the security guard asked me if I had permission to be there.
See also: thumb, twiddle

twiddle one's thumbs

Fig. to pass the time by twirling one's thumbs. What am I supposed to do while waiting for you? Sit here and twiddle my thumbs? Don't sit around twiddling your thumbs. Get busy!
See also: thumb, twiddle

twiddle with something

to play with something; to play with something, using one's fingers; to fiddle with something. I asked Jason to stop twiddling with the pencils. Someone is twiddling with the stereo controls.
See also: twiddle

twiddle one's thumbs

Be bored or idle, as in There I sat for three hours, twiddling my thumbs, while he made call after call. This expression alludes to the habit of idly turning one's thumbs about one another during a period of inactivity. [Mid-1800s]
See also: thumb, twiddle

be twiddling your thumbs

If you are twiddling your thumbs, you are waiting with nothing useful to do. I'd far rather be cleaning than twiddling my thumbs waiting for the boys to wake up. There is a lot of team work too and no one is ever left twiddling their thumbs.
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

twiddle one’s thumbs

tv. to do nothing; to wait nervously, playing with one’s fingers. I sat twiddling my thumbs while you were out doing I don’t know what all!
See also: thumb, twiddle

twiddle (one's) thumbs

To do little or nothing; be idle.
See also: thumb, twiddle

twiddle one's thumbs, to

To be bored; to be idle. The habit of idly turning one’s thumbs about each other during a period of enforced inactivity gave rise to this cliché, which began life in the mid-nineteenth century. “You’d have all the world do nothing . . . but twiddle its thumbs,” wrote Douglas Jerrold (Mrs. Caudle’s Curtain Lectures, 1846).
See also: twiddle
References in periodicals archive ?
El sindrome de Twiddler puede llevar a la muerte por lo que, a pesar de su baja frecuencia, debe ser tenido en cuenta en pacientes evaluados por sospecha de disfuncion del marcapasos; por ello es esencial hacer una evaluacion radiologica juiciosa que oriente al diagnostico (10).
Speaking of Fausty and Greenbaum, it is wonderful to hear a contemporary independent production that has the warmth and clarity of the golden knob twiddlers of old; the engineering on the album really showcases the band in all its sonic glory.
Published reports and private conversations indicate that for the most part organizers became pool sitters and thumb twiddlers.
MY friends at Stick Twiddlers will try to break four gaming world records next Friday.
It's a fine reminder that in today's world, knob twiddlers rank alongside string pluckers or velum strikers.
Since the release of debut album Antidotes in 2008 they have grown from mini math-rock twiddlers to festival headliners.
They want gamers to join their bid to set several world records, including the Stick Twiddlers team's attempt to play Rockstar's Red Dead Redemption for 50 hours.
The album is co-produced by Craig Leon, who worked on their very first single X Offender, while Good Boys comes complete with a raft of remixes from legendary twiddlers like Giorgio Moroder and Arthur Baker and such modern hot-shots as Scissor Sisters, A1 People and Easy.
In this consumer-obsessed world it seems there's nothing safe from professional twiddlers set on improving or adding extras.
AIR: Premiers Symptomes (Virgin) - An old one from 1997 but the French twiddlers still wipe the floor with most of the turgid grooves around.
His confidence had picked up and he scoured the room for hair twiddlers and sideways glances.
bedroom twiddlers with synth handclaps and breathy vocals.
THE Velvet Underground's John Cale and Roxy Music's Brian Eno have allowed generations of bedroom twiddlers to create their own soundscapes.