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


asleep, dozing, napping, resting, sleeping, slumbering


awake, sleepless, wakeful, wide-awake

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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 cases in which Manteuffel stands accused represent the latest in a series of recent breaks made in long-dormant criminal probes thanks to the growing availability of DNA. Christina Maxouris, CNN, "California investigators kept DNA from 3 violent crime scenes for decades. A suspect was just arrested in Georgia," 3 July 2019 Building a casino, plus related restaurants, hotels and entertainment venues, could awaken a long-dormant site like the 440-acre South Works, U.S. Steel’s former steel plant site on the far south lakefront. Ryan Ori,, "A tough bet for Lightfoot: Where to put Chicago's casino? Possibilities range from former Reese hospital to public housing sites," 5 June 2019 Plans are underway — and money is being raised — to expand the PlayGarden and move the long-dormant carousel at Arena Green next to it. Sal Pizarro, The Mercury News, "New leadership may spur more growth for Guadalupe River Park," 4 June 2019 And amateur mathematicians of all ages rose up to make significant contributions to long-dormant problems. Quanta Magazine, "The Year in Math and Computer Science," 21 Dec. 2018 In November, Leonard signed a multiyear deal with New Balance, which had been largely dormant in basketball for more than a decade and wanted the Toronto Raptors star as the face of its re-entry into the market. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Kawhi sues Nike over rights to hand logo he claims he created," 5 June 2019 Those herpes strains, which cause a mild childhood disease called roseola, are found in 90 percent of children in the United States and usually go dormant in childhood, but can reactivate in times of illness or stress. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Childhood Virus May Have a Role in Alzheimer’s Disease," 23 June 2018 The bacteria can lie dormant in the concrete for decades and is completely harmless, according to Nele De Belie, a professor at Belgium's Ghent University who has worked on developing the concrete. Sarah Bowman, Indianapolis Star, "This is why bacteria could be the answer to your pothole prayers," 3 Apr. 2018 The goal raises a number of questions which have lain dormant in the game for some time now, such as the question of offside decisions., "Sandro Wagner Cock-a-Hoop After Opening Bayern Scoring Account With Massive 'Penis Goal' in 5-2 Win," 27 Jan. 2018

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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Statistics for dormant

Last Updated

12 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for dormant

The first known use of dormant was circa 1500

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on dormant

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dormant

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dormant

Spanish Central: Translation of dormant

Nglish: Translation of dormant for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dormant for Arabic Speakers

Comments on dormant

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an act or instance of editing or removing

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