dor·mant | \ ˈdȯr-mənt \

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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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 letter of admonition came after a long dormant period for the Ethics Committee, which rarely publicly chastises sitting senators. Maggie Astor, New York Times, "Menendez Is ‘Severely Admonished’ by Senate Panel for Accepting Gifts," 26 Apr. 2018 After Kraver died in 1938, the brand lay dormant for decades. Gabe Hauari, The Courier-Journal, "Tour these top Kentucky distilleries. Shocker! They're mostly bourbon," 20 June 2018 Rising magma would dry up pools of water, so geysers going dormant would be a worrying event. Alex Horton, Anchorage Daily News, "A Yellowstone geyser has experienced unusual eruptions lately, and scientists can’t explain why," 29 Apr. 2018 Rising magma would dry up pools of water, so geysers going dormant would be a worrying event. Alex Horton, Washington Post, "A Yellowstone geyser has experienced unusual eruptions lately — and scientists can’t explain why," 29 Apr. 2018 Southern gardeners often sow peas in mid to late fall so the seeds will lie dormant through winter and sprout as early as possible for spring harvest. The Editors Of Organic Life, Good Housekeeping, "Growing Peas Has Never Been Easier Than This," 31 Mar. 2017 The complaint cites a Mississippi State University laboratory test conducted in December that showed that the seeds the farmers bought were dormant. Kristine Phillips,, "Black soybean farmers say they were deliberately sold defective seeds because of their race," 12 July 2018 Casual sit-down restaurants, however, still make up 34% of the $560 billion in total restaurant industry sales, according to Technomic Inc. Restaurant veteran Bradley Blum said the sector has merely been dormant. Julie Jargon, WSJ, "Casual-Dining Chains Step Up to the Plate," 3 July 2018 The group has been dormant for the last few years, but that's coming to an end this weekend. Jeff Milo, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit music: The Paybacks make a comeback; Flint Eastwood playing at MOCAD," 28 June 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

6 Sep 2018

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 \

Kids Definition of dormant

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

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Comments on dormant

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