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

In order to protect their free ride without accountability, they are well known for covering their inaction and missteps. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Your Say: Election 2020 priorities," 2 Aug. 2019 Its inaction was largely a function of deference to the Federal Reserve, which has itself all but promised a cut in its own key interest rate next week. Geoffrey Smith, Fortune, "Mario Draghi Holds Off Loosening Monetary Policy, Giving the Fed the Right of Way," 25 July 2019 Nearly every framing device that Pelosi has presented to justify her inaction pivots on the ostensible political cost of initiating impeachment proceedings during the 2020 election cycle. Elizabeth Spiers, The New Republic, "Beyond Pelosi," 24 July 2019 Its action or inaction will help determine the economic outlook going into an election year. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, "Three Key Questions About Trump and the Economy," 9 July 2019 Bautista, who was assigned to the housing unit where the woman was held last year, was fired for her inaction, failing to complete one of the required rounds that morning and failing to note any of the inmate’s erratic behavior. Elise Schmelzer, The Denver Post, "Denver jail deputy fired, 2 others disciplined for not helping woman suffering from hours of epileptic seizures in cell," 3 July 2019 Later, Kamala Harris seared Biden for his inaction on racial integration. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "The Meme Debates," 28 June 2019 Because no matter how much Alabama vows to care for life and the unborn and the just born, children and babies die all the time in Alabama because of the state’s actions, and its inaction. John Archibald |,, "Marshae Jones indictment is complex; Alabama hypocrisy isn’t," 27 June 2019 But action — or inaction — prompts reactions, Coleman said. Wire Service, The Mercury News, "Texas has repeatedly chosen to not protect transgender people, so they’re taking matters into their own hands," 6 June 2019

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

8 Aug 2019

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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 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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