in·​ac·​tion | \(ˌ)i-ˈnak-shən \

Definition of inaction 

: lack of action or activity : idleness

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Examples of inaction in a Sentence

The protesters criticized the administration's inaction on environmental issues. We must consider the consequences of continued inaction.

Recent Examples on the Web

The consequences of inaction often seem to be the thing that Twitter understands the least. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Twitter finally draws a line on extremism," 14 Aug. 2018 The ripple effect of our actions, or inactions, can be enormous, spanning generations. Bridget Read, Vogue, "Aly Raisman and More Than 100 Women Join Onstage at the ESPYs to Accept the Arthur Ashe Courage Award," 19 July 2018 Nevertheless, some states have informed families that their children could lose coverage because of delays and inaction by Congress. Author: Thomas Kaplan, Robert Pear, Anchorage Daily News, "GOP weighs children’s health insurance as a lure for averting shutdown," 17 Jan. 2018 In the coming days, Republicans and Democrats will surely weigh how their constituents will view their action — or inaction — on Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Anna North, Vox, "The striking parallels between Brett Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas," 14 Sep. 2018 Facebook’s recently departed security chief says US government inaction has ensured that the upcoming midterm elections will be vulnerable to hacking and online manipulation campaigns. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "Former Facebook security chief says it’s ‘too late’ to protect 2018 elections," 22 Aug. 2018 But that's just one of the significant ways the Trump administration has gotten around congressional inaction to weaken Obamacare. Colby Itkowitz, Washington Post, "The Health 202: 'ACA' removed from swaths of website, watchdog reports," 12 July 2018 The account stands in contrast to Peterson’s inaction while the shooting was taking place hours later, according to the suit. Rafael Olmeda,, "Cops should have stopped Parkland shooter, students say in lawsuit," 11 July 2018 Yet as Neace observed when the Butchertown stadium site was first selected, the simple act of getting a shovel in the ground creates a considerable edge over earnest inaction. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "Soccer stadium start signals new possibilities for Possibility City," 28 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'inaction.' 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 inaction

1707, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for inaction

Last Updated

12 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for inaction

The first known use of inaction was in 1707

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More Definitions for inaction



English Language Learners Definition of inaction

: failure to do something that should be done : lack of action or activity


in·​ac·​tion | \i-ˈnak-shən \

Kids Definition of inaction

: lack of action or activity Dove and Dusty were paralyzed into complete inaction.— Esther Forbes, Johnny Tremain

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More from Merriam-Webster on inaction

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with inaction

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for inaction

Spanish Central: Translation of inaction

Nglish: Translation of inaction for Spanish Speakers

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a knickknack or trinket

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