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From Middle English idely, ydelly, idelliche, from Old English īdellīċe, equivalent to idle + -ly.
idly (comparative more idly, superlative most idly)
- Without specific purpose, intent or effort. [from 9th c.]
- I idly played with the paper, not even realizing I was folding it into a paper airplane.
- In an idle manner. [from 14th c.]
In an idle manner.
Without specific purpose, intent or effort.
- James A. H. Murray [et al.], editors (1884–1928), “Idly”, in A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles (Oxford English Dictionary), volume V (H–K), London: Clarendon Press, →OCLC, page 24, column 2.
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