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 But as 2020 hurtles on, the left’s inaction increasingly stands out. Casey Michel, The New Republic, "The Left’s Deafening Silence on China’s Ethnic Cleansing," 7 July 2020 Experts cited a variety of reasons, including poor medical literacy and government inaction. Adam Taylor, Washington Post, "There was an effective vaccine. An outbreak struck anyway.," 7 July 2020 Conservative analyst Jed Babbin graded a C-, highlighting inaction over reports Russia offered bounties to Taliban fighters to kill U.S. troops. Paul Bedard, Washington Examiner, "White House Report Card: July 4th reboots Trump campaign with war on ‘cancel culture’," 4 July 2020 McEnany did not challenge The Times’ reporting on the existence of the intelligence assessment, the National Security Council meeting, and the White House’s inaction. Adam Goldman,, "Trump denies briefing on reported bounties against US troops," 28 June 2020 At the start of June, dozens of Facebook employees participated in a virtual walkout protesting the company's inaction toward President Trump's social media posts that supported the use of police brutality. Olivia Harrison,, "Ben & Jerry’s Joins The #StopHateForProfit Campaign & Announces Facebook Boycott," 24 June 2020 What permitted the grotesque reaction and inaction to COVID-19. Emma Hinchliffe, Fortune, "Stacey Abrams: Safeguarding voting rights fights the ‘virus’ of systemic racism," 18 June 2020 Mark Zuckerberg’s inaction ignited a revolt by Facebook staff: Some employees staged a virtual walkout, others criticized the CEO in a staff meeting, and at least one engineer resigned in protest. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "The Silence of the Never Facebookers," 10 June 2020 Brazilian natives are fighting two enemies at once – the virus itself and political inaction, led by President Jair Bolsonaro, whose response to the pandemic has been widely criticized. Fox News, "Fears for Brazil's indigenous tribes as coronavirus death toll continues to climb," 5 June 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

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The first known use of inaction was in 1707

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Statistics for inaction

Last Updated

18 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Inaction.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for inaction


How to pronounce inaction (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for inaction

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with inaction

Spanish Central: Translation of inaction

Nglish: Translation of inaction for Spanish Speakers

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