I am looking for a word which meaning is the opposite of "usage". The context is the use of devices of any sort. The best I've come up with so far is to look at the situation from the devices perspective and consider "usage periods" and "inactivity periods".

  • 3
    The term usage is tricky here and is better avoided. Active-Inactive, Up-Down, Busy-Idle and similar pairs would suit the context much better.
    – Kris
    Commented Feb 22, 2013 at 10:41

3 Answers 3


Idle time or idle periods could be what you are looking for. The term is already in use in the computer and other industries to denote time when a machine could be working but isn't.

  • Yes. I stand by mine as correct, but this is correct and also preferable IMO.
    – Jon Hanna
    Commented Feb 22, 2013 at 10:29
  • Indeed neglect is probably more correct for the fact that it's a noun and idle is an adjective, although the latter seems better suited as its meaning seems more specific to the context I described.
    – Max
    Commented Feb 22, 2013 at 12:39

Neglect can fit a lot of cases, but has a negative connotation that may be best avoided.

Inactivity is indeed a good choice. The related "inactive periods" doesn't match noun-for-noun, but it does match noun-phrase for noun-phrase, and reads more naturally IMO.

Rest might also be considered, but it has a positive connotation that might be almost as well avoided as the negative connotations of neglect, especially if you want to reduce redundancy by reducing how often the devices are inactive.


Disregarding. You could be using something while disregarding something else.

  • 1
    This isn't actually the opposite of 'usage', as the question asks. 'Disregarding' is the opposite of 'regarding', which isn't synonymous with 'usage'. Commented Jun 11, 2017 at 20:00

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