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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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 humans were able to get some respite in S1, because the zombies seemed to hate sunlight and were dormant during the day. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Review: Kingdom is better (and more relevant) than ever in S2," 22 Mar. 2020 Spokane switched to the IFL for the 2016 and 2017 seasons under the nickname Empire, but the franchise had been dormant the past two IFL campaigns. Mark Inabinett |, al, "Spokane Shock signs quarterback Blake Sims," 25 Feb. 2020 Some said that this was because of soil enriched by volcanic explosions, but Vesuvius had been dormant for around seven hundred years. Joan Acocella, The New Yorker, "The Terror and the Fascination of Pompeii," 10 Feb. 2020 This year, Bloomberg News reported that the Burisma investigation had been dormant for more than a year by the time Biden called for the crackdown on corruption. NBC News, "Pence's chief of staff says he didn't hear Trump tie aid to Biden investigations," 29 Jan. 2020 But most are dormant, lurking invisibly for thousands of years—until a star passes too close and is ripped to shreds. Daniel Clery, Science | AAAS, "Black holes caught in the act of swallowing stars," 28 Jan. 2020 The investigation into Burisma was reportedly dormant by the time Biden pushed for Shokin's ouster. NBC News, "Schiff offers to limit witness depositions to a week after defense laments a protracted trial," 30 Jan. 2020 Researchers have known for decades that Venus’ surface is mottled with volcanoes, but determining whether those volcanoes are dormant or active from a distance is tricky. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, "Active Volcanoes May Still Exist on Venus," 6 Jan. 2020 Shokin has claimed that he was fired because his office was investigating Burisma and Biden's son - a probe that anti-corruption activists and former officials said was actually dormant at the time. Anchorage Daily News, "Ex-ambassador likely to shed light on murky effort in Ukraine to oust her," 15 Nov. 2019

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 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Dormant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for dormant


How to pronounce dormant (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dormant

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dormant

Spanish Central: Translation of dormant

Nglish: Translation of dormant for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dormant for Arabic Speakers

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