co·​ma·​tose ˈkō-mə-ˌtōs How to pronounce comatose (audio) ˈkä- How to pronounce comatose (audio)
: of, resembling, or affected with coma
The patient lay comatose, sustained by respirators.
: characterized by lethargic inertness : torpid
a comatose economy
Broadway was theatrically comatose that summer.

Example Sentences

She lay in a comatose state. the city's downtown has been comatose for years
Recent Examples on the Web That backing comes in the form of conscious-like brain activity observed in comatose patients immediately prior to their death. Tim Newcomb, Popular Mechanics, 9 May 2023 All had been comatose and were considered beyond medical assistance, writes the Guardian’s Hannah Devlin. Will Sullivan, Smithsonian Magazine, 5 May 2023 The six-year veteran officer fell into a comatose state after the attack due to a severe head injury, Penzone said. Sydney Carruth, The Arizona Republic, 1 May 2023 The percentage of affordable housing that developers would be required to build in San Francisco would be lowered under a new proposal aimed at reviving the city's comatose housing development industry. J.k. Dineen, San Francisco Chronicle, 19 Apr. 2023 Another was comatose, a soldier in an army that didn’t care. Elisa Gonzalez, Washington Post, 14 Apr. 2023 On July 7th, 2022 – just four days before his sixth birthday – Nathan was transferred to Texas Children's Hospital in Houston in a comatose state, more than 700 miles from home. Wendy Grossman Kantor, Peoplemag, 21 Mar. 2023 An elite runner is used to handling pain, and being semi-comatose all day seemed much worse. Roger Robinson, Outside Online, 29 May 2020 The upshot was supposed to be thousands of mini-stimuli injected into a near-comatose consumer economy, raising prices and encouraging businesses to reopen. James C. Cobb, Time, 27 Apr. 2020 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'comatose.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


French comateux, from Greek kōmat-, kōma — see coma entry 1

First Known Use

1755, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of comatose was in 1755

Dictionary Entries Near comatose

Cite this Entry

“Comatose.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2023.

Medical Definition


co·​ma·​tose ˈkō-mə-ˌtōs How to pronounce comatose (audio) ˈkäm-ə- How to pronounce comatose (audio)
: of, resembling, or affected with coma
a comatose patient
a comatose condition

More from Merriam-Webster on comatose

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