dor·​mant | \ ˈdȯr-mənt How to pronounce dormant (audio) \

Definition of dormant

1 heraldry : represented on a coat of arms in a lying position with the head on the forepaws
2 : marked by a suspension of activity: such as
a : temporarily devoid of external activity a dormant volcano
b : temporarily in abeyance yet capable of being activated seeds will remain dormant until spring reawaken her dormant emotions
3a : asleep, inactive dormant creatures
b : having the faculties suspended : sluggish
c : having biological activity suspended: such as
(1) : being in a state of suspended animation
(2) botany : not actively growing but protected (as by bud scales) from the environment used of plant parts
4 : associated with, carried out, or applied during a period of dormancy dormant grafting

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Synonyms & Antonyms for dormant



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Choose the Right Synonym for dormant

latent, dormant, quiescent, potential mean not now showing signs of activity or existence. latent applies to a power or quality that has not yet come forth but may emerge and develop. a latent desire for success dormant suggests the inactivity of something (such as a feeling or power) as though sleeping. their passion had lain dormant quiescent suggests a usually temporary cessation of activity. the disease was quiescent potential applies to what does not yet have existence or effect but is likely soon to have. a potential disaster

Examples of dormant in a Sentence

The seeds will remain dormant until the spring. Her emotions have lain dormant for many years.
Recent Examples on the Web The entire park site was dormant for years and originally planned as a hotel, though no building was ever constructed. Stephanie Burt, Travel + Leisure, "Hilton Head Island's Newest Park Has an Epic Adventure Playground Kids Will Love," 26 Feb. 2021 However, like every other musical act in 2020, Fleetwood Mac had been relatively dormant; no combination of the famously argumentative group had appeared together all year. Stacey Anderson, Quartz, "How TikTok is changing the music industry," 21 Feb. 2021 More than 1,500 active or dormant slides exist along the Highway 1 corridor in Big Sur, according to a 2005 assessment by the California Department of Conservation. Kurtis Alexander, San Francisco Chronicle, "Highway 1 through Big Sur will be repaired. How long that takes is unclear," 10 Feb. 2021 Reports surrounding Apple’s possible foray into the global market for automobiles re-emerged this year after going dormant since development first began in 2015. Fortune, "Hyundai and Kia stocks slump after they say Apple Car project isn’t happening," 8 Feb. 2021 The appearance of ultra-thin eyebrows of the '90s is one fad that can stay dormant. Jennifer Aldrich, Better Homes & Gardens, "Ombré Powder Brows Is the Technique You Need for Full Eyebrows," 22 Jan. 2021 Protests died down by the winter and have remained dormant. Omar Abdel-baqui, Detroit Free Press, "Law enforcement in 2021: From terror plots to surveillance tech, here's what's ahead," 17 Jan. 2021 Almost a year later, their social media presence remains dormant—and perhaps never to be reactivated. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "Are Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Quitting Social Media for Good?," 11 Jan. 2021 Several said no, and only a handful, Dennis Quaid among them, accepted; Quaid then apparently backed out, and the campaign went dormant. Masha Gessen, The New Yorker, "The Overlooked Hallmark of the Trump Administration—and Other Autocracies," 15 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dormant.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of dormant

circa 1500, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for dormant

Middle English, fixed, stationary, from Anglo-French, from present participle of dormir to sleep, from Latin dormire; akin to Sanskrit drāti he sleeps

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Time Traveler for dormant

Time Traveler

The first known use of dormant was circa 1500

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Statistics for dormant

Last Updated

4 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Dormant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
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More Definitions for dormant



English Language Learners Definition of dormant

: not doing anything at this time : not active but able to become active


dor·​mant | \ ˈdȯr-mənt How to pronounce dormant (audio) \

Kids Definition of dormant

: not active for the time being The volcano is dormant.

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