Not sure how to spell a word? Hesitate no longer.

8 Aug. “Bone idle.” Is this a compliment?

If a person is called “bone idle” it is the very opposite of a compliment! If you want to find out what it does mean and where it comes from then keep reading this article!


The expression is used in order to describe someone who is lazy. The phrase does not just suggest laziness though, it suggests that a person is completely and utterly useless and lazy.


A similar expression dates to the year 1830 in The Vocabulary Of East Anglia by Robert Forby. It reads “bone-lazy, bone-sore, bone-tired, adj. so lazy, sore, or tired, that the laziness, the soreness, or the fatigue, seem to have penetrated the very bones.”

Forby never used the exact expression “bone idle” and we have to wait until the year 1836 to find the first use of this exact phrase. It can be found in Thomas Carlyle’s New Letters which reads “for the last three weeks I have been going what you call bone-idle.” 


An example of the expression in use can be found in a quote from musician, Noel Gallacher. He is quoted to have said “I can make going to the dry-cleaners last an entire day, and the dry cleaners might be 150 yards from my front door. You might find it hard to believe, but I am bone-idle lazy.”

Ne ratez pas

Should I be pleased to be described as “the laughing stock?”

publié le 4 June

Have you ever been described as "the laughing stock?" Do you want to know if this is a compliment or not? If this is the case then keep reading and th...

voir plus

What does it mean if something happens at “the eleventh hour?”

publié le 2 June

The English idiom, "at the eleventh hour" is often used in conversation. It can seem rather confusing if you do not have prior knowledge of what it me...

voir plus

Is it a good thing to “kill time?”

publié le 2 June

This English expression is very commonly used, particularly in general day-to-day conversation. If you want to find out when and how to use it, read t...

voir plus