adjective dor·mant \ˈdȯr-mənt\

Definition of dormant

  1. 1 heraldry :  represented on a coat of arms in a lying position with the head on the forepaws

  2. 2 :  marked by a suspension of activity: such asa :  temporarily devoid of external activity a dormant volcanob :  temporarily in abeyance yet capable of being activated seeds will remain dormant until spring reawaken her dormant emotions

  3. 3a :  asleep, inactive dormant creaturesb :  having the faculties suspended :  sluggishc :  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. 4 :  associated with, carried out, or applied during a period of dormancy dormant grafting

Examples of dormant in a sentence

  1. The seeds will remain dormant until the spring.

  2. Her emotions have lain dormant for many years.

Origin and Etymology of dormant

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

First Known Use: circa 1500

Synonym Discussion of 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.

Other Heraldry Terms

DORMANT Defined for English Language Learners


adjective dor·mant \ˈdȯr-mənt\

Definition of dormant for English Language Learners

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

DORMANT Defined for Kids


adjective dor·mant \ˈdȯr-mənt\

Definition of dormant for Students

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

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