in·​ac·​tion | \ (ˌ)i-ˈnak-shən How to pronounce inaction (audio) \

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

A few days after her birthday, Thompson participated in a protest against inaction in the face of climate change (three cheers!) but flew on a carbon-spewing airplane to get there (three jeers!) but planted trees to offset the emissions (forgiven?). Eliza Berman, Time, "Emma Thompson Just Wants to Make Us Laugh—and Maybe Get Arrested," 6 June 2019 While both groups were waiting to see if YouTube did anything, neither were surprised by the ultimate inaction: YouTube has long faced criticism for very selectively punishing users who seem to cross the line. Julia Alexander, The Verge, "Creators aren’t surprised that YouTube won’t enforce its own policies against harassment," 5 June 2019 The inaction by a court stacked with five conservative justices has appeared to some as unusual, given that the administration first announced its plan to wind down DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, in September 2017. Richard Wolf, USA TODAY, "Supreme Court in waiting game on Trump administration bid to end DACA protection for immigrants," 4 June 2019 In the short term, congressional inaction is likely good news for the housing market as home sales and prices weaken amid rising interest rates. Andrew Ackerman, WSJ, "Mortgage Industry Braces for Trump Administration to Make Changes at Fannie, Freddie," 11 Nov. 2018 Mostly for conflating the actions of Nassar and inaction of his superiors at MSU with the school's football coach, Mark Dantonio, and with Izzo. Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press, "Indiana asks fans to go easy on Michigan State, reminds us these are still kids," 4 Feb. 2018 After railing against the inaction that happened instead, Ocasio-Cortez makes it to Hurricane Maria in 2017, a disaster that has been linked to climate change. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Stars in a Powerful Video Offering a Vision of a Green New Deal Future," 17 Apr. 2019 Chinese officials at a press briefing didn’t mention that pledge, and the companies haven’t expressed any interest in trying to revive the merger, which fell apart after the Chinese inaction. Bob Davis, WSJ, "U.S., China Face Thorny Obstacles to Lasting Trade Peace," 2 Dec. 2018 Burr called the congressional inaction frustrating, since no one disagrees that the program is valuable and cost-effective. Matthew Daly, The Seattle Times, "Lawmakers debate fix after conservation fund lapses," 1 Oct. 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

13 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for inaction

The first known use of inaction was in 1707

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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 How to pronounce inaction (audio) \

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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