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

Between November 2017 and February 2018, concern about government inaction to regulate tech companies jumped 15 percent. Nitasha Tiku, WIRED, "The Partisan Divide Around Censorship in Social Media," 28 June 2018 Those include efforts by government agencies to use authority under longstanding laws to address new challenges in the face of congressional inaction. Brent Kendall, WSJ, "Kavanaugh’s Past—Political and Judicial—to Fuel Confirmation Debate," 10 July 2018 Sexist hostility and crude behavior have long been acknowledged in science, but the problems have been met by decades of inaction, according to a report issued earlier this month by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. Cornelia Dean, New York Times, "Francisco J. Ayala, Famed Biologist, Resigns After Sexual Harassment Inquiry," 29 June 2018 Curbelo initiated a petition on May 9 to change the nation's immigration laws after years of inaction, and he's been furiously trying to rally dissatisfied Republicans over the past three weeks to bypass House Speaker Paul Ryan. Alex Daugherty, David Smiley And Anita Kumar, miamiherald, "Donald Trump opposes Carlos Curbelo's plan to force an immigration vote in Congress," 25 May 2018 Frustrations are rising among officials in Texas over the inaction. Kevin Diaz, San Antonio Express-News, "GOP plan to head off government shutdown leaves out Harvey disaster aid," 17 Jan. 2018 Brown said the federal judge’s ruling served as a reminder of the inaction in Washington on a comprehensive overhaul of federal immigration law. John Myers,, "Federal judge denies Trump administration effort to block California's 'sanctuary' law," 5 July 2018 Fox News is told that Trump is amplifying his calls to ditch the legislative filibuster because there’s fear voters will blame the GOP for inaction in the midterms. Chad Pergram, Fox News, "Trump amplifying calls to ditch the legislative filibuster as midterms near," 4 July 2018 Democrats slammed President Donald Trump and his party in the wake of the latest deadly school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas Friday, condemning the GOP's inaction on gun control after the massacre in Parkland, Florida, three months ago. NBC News, "After Santa Fe school shooting, Democratic lawmakers slam GOP for inaction on gun control," 18 May 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

17 Oct 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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a generally accepted meaning of a word

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