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 Climate scientists and activists say inaction is not an option. Washington Post, 16 July 2021 That inaction came after an inquiry about the possibility from the head of the joint city-county office for homeless services, said Julie Sullivan-Springhetti, a county spokeswoman. oregonlive, 11 July 2021 This inaction is wrong, and that should have a solid reason to become part of the solution and stop being part of the problem. Afdhel Aziz, Forbes, 6 July 2021 Mulrain says that this inaction is exemplified by the case of Salaythis Melvin, who was shot to death by police on August 7, 2020. Time, 13 May 2021 In his speech on Wednesday, Mr. Biden encouraged bipartisan action, but said that inaction was not an option. Grace Segers, CBS News, 29 Apr. 2021 That apparent inaction led many in the cybersecurity world to marvel for years at western governments' failure to hold Sandworm accountable. Andy Greenberg, Wired, 19 Oct. 2020 The live action — make that live inaction — got in the way. Doyle Mcmanus Los Angeles Times (tns), Star Tribune, 13 Aug. 2020 That inaction led Morales to say in July that the commission was setting him up to fail. Elliot Hughes, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 6 Aug. 2020

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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Time Traveler for inaction

Time Traveler

The first known use of inaction was in 1707

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Dictionary Entries Near inaction

in a coon's age



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Statistics for inaction

Last Updated

19 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Inaction.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jul. 2021.

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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 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

More from Merriam-Webster on inaction

Nglish: Translation of inaction for Spanish Speakers


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