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

Thanks to FX and Cate Blanchett, the long-dormant fight is about to resurface in the pop cultural lexicon. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Mrs. America: Everything We Know So Far About Cate Blanchett's FX Show," 10 Jan. 2019 The plan never got off the ground, and the site remained dormant through the recession. Deborah Sullivan Brennan,, "Could San Marcos become a center of film production for San Diego?," 30 June 2018 The 25-year-old Junis bounced back from a pair of rough outings with a quality start, but KC's offense remained mostly dormant in a 3-2 loss to the Texas Rangers on Wednesday night at Kauffman Stadium. Jesse Newell, kansascity, "Jakob Junis improves on biggest weakness, but Royals' losing streak goes on," 20 June 2018 Nonetheless, up until Comey’s intervention in the case in late October, the Weiner laptop issue appeared to have successfully slipped between the cracks where it likely would have remained dormant until well after the election. Warren Richey, The Christian Science Monitor, "Inspector general on Comey: dissecting an error in judgment," 15 June 2018 After patients recover from chickenpox, the virus remains dormant in their nerve cells, where it is typically kept in check by the immune system for decades. New York Times, "Is Shingles Contagious?," 25 May 2018 One theory: Circuits of nerves below the injury site are dormant, but still living. Fox News, "Paralyzed patients take first steps after implant, intense rehab," 25 Sep. 2018 For about seven years, the mansion was dormant as Radnor officials shot down one development proposal after another. Katie Park,, "With a $1M anonymous donation, a shuttered historic mansion in Villanova will come back to life," 18 June 2018 The leaders of North Korea and South Korea have vowed to finally end the Korean conflict, which has been merely dormant since the two sides ended outright war with an armistice 65 years ago. David Meyer, Fortune, "Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in Agree to Finally Sign a Peace Treaty and Rid the Peninsula of Nukes," 27 Apr. 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

22 Mar 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

What made you want to look up dormant? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to reflect, repel, echo, or resound

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