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 balled and burlapped trees and shrubs are typically dug in late winter/early spring while dormant and held above ground in the garden centers. Tim Johnson,, "Missed the spring planting season? It's not too late to plant.," 2 July 2018 Elsewhere in temporarily-dormant but once-again erupting flames, Kathy Griffin is back! Michael Andor Brodeur,, "The Weekender: Bono, Beyoncé, Neko, and Hamlet," 21 June 2018 The bomb, dropped by the British Royal Air Force near the end of the war, stood dormant and rusting for more than 70 years. Erik Kirschbaum,, "Unexploded WWII bomb brings large-scale disruption to Berlin," 20 Apr. 2018 How much of the essential essence of Ben — that big, booming laugh that could fill a room, the flirtation and charisma, quick wit and intellect — lay dormant but would one day return, and how much of it was gone forever? Dr. Daniela Lamas, miamiherald, "Critical-care doctor writes of families’ health choices and realities | Miami Herald," 2 Apr. 2018 LAWNS South shore gardeners are not used to seeing their St. Augustine lawns go completely brown and dormant over winter. Contributing Writer,, "7 gifts for those whose homes have too much stuff," 26 Mar. 2018 Some of these companies are now dormant or dissolved. Kim Hjelmgaard, USA TODAY, "Cambridge Analytica active in elections, big data projects for years," 22 Mar. 2018 There are three phrases: shedding, dormant, and growth. Amber Rambharose, Glamour, "This Brow Serum Has Undone Years of Over-Waxing," 8 Feb. 2018 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

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

20 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

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


occurring twice a year or every two years

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