twiddle

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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

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

twiddle with (someone)

To play with something in one's hands idly, especially by turning it over or around repeatedly; to fiddle with something. She has this annoying habit of twiddling with her necklace whenever she's speaking. Stop twiddling with that cathode, or you'll end up breaking it!
See also: 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 ?
Twiddler's syndrome (TS) is known to be an uncommon cause of device malfunction caused by excessive twisting of the pacemaker or ICD device in the pocket, resulting in dislodgement of leads and device malfunction.2 The prevalence of this syndrome was reported to be 0.07 - 7 % in cases with a pacemaker.2,3 It was first reported by Bayliss et al.
Haq et al., "Prevalence of twiddler's syndrome as a cause of deep brain stimulation hardware failure," Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery, vol.
The majority of the songs were produced by Muggs but guest knob twiddler The Alchemist is credited on Latin Thugs which also features Puerto Rican reggae star Tego Calderon.
Blessed with a lyricist and singer the equal of Morrissey in Neil Tennant and the archetypal knob twiddler in Chris Lowe, the Boys are a self-contained hit factory with the grace and wit to ensnare different generations.
The dashboard is unique to this car but the main equipment and controls are familiar, including the twiddler on the centre console through which you can navigate Mercedes' brilliantly easy-to-use infotainment system that's an option on our car.
Given she cites Jill Scott, Sheryl Crow and Nelly Furtado among her favourites, it's no surprise to find her silky, slightly breathy voice floating across a collection of soulful, rootsy pop and R&B -tastefully produced by Mark Edwards (knob twiddler for Carleen Anderson) and co-writer Phil Baggaley.
Robson is known as "Prozac" because it always seems as though he's on a happy drug; Jerome , for no particular reason, is "Twiddler".
Late night Radio One know twiddler and disc spinner Gilles Peterson has long been slipping in the odd 1960s British jazz classic in amongst his more usual fare of trip-hop, worldbeat, international garage or whatever the latest style is.
Nominally an electronic composer, New Yorker Deacon is so much more than a mere knob twiddler.
It's the new benchmark for urban British music and Sugababes could teach a lesson or two to Frou Frou, a rather self-conscious collaboration between kooky singer Imogen Heap and knob twiddler Guy Sigsworth.
The Flaming Lips' alt-rock figurehead Wayne Coyne, Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney, Lily Allen cohort Greg Kurstin, will.i.am, Ben Folds and Britney Spears knob twiddler Max Martin are among those joining in Ke$ha's breathless non-stop celebration.
This album, produced by Mercury Rev's knob twiddler Dave Fridmann, includes soon- to-be cult tracks such as Oh!
???en under the wing of My Chemical Romance's Gerard Way and REM/U2 knob twiddler Jacknife Lee, this Derby trio are being groomed for big things in the world of metal.