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

Their messages seeking help from Facebook led to months of miscommunication and inaction. Craig Timberg, Washington Post, "A popular Facebook page, ‘Vets for Trump,’ seemed to be a place for former military. But for months, Macedonians controlled it.," 17 Sep. 2019 Unfortunately, influencing policy to their benefit also contributes to inaction on climate change and widening the income divide. John Warner,, "Wake-up calls: From ‘Dopesick’ to ‘Kochland,’ these reads will open your eyes to a modern American reality," 16 Sep. 2019 Amazon employees will walk out over the company's climate change inactionOver 900 Amazon employees have signed an internal petition pledging to walk out over their employer’s lack of action on climate change. Wired, "The Myth of Processed Foods, an Amazon Walkout, and More News," 9 Sep. 2019 Now international inaction is driving Bangladesh toward extremes. The Christian Science Monitor, "Africa rises for immigrant rights," 6 Sep. 2019 Debby Grovak protests Florida Governor Rick Scott’s inaction on toxic algal blooms in Sarasota, Florida, in July 2018. Emily Atkin, The New Republic, "The Frightening Spread of Toxic Algae," 28 Aug. 2019 The appearance of police inaction on that night has fueled widespread criticism of the Hong Kong force. New York Times, "City on Edge: Photographs From Hong Kong’s Summer of Protest," 28 Aug. 2019 However, forest fires in the neighbouring countries of Paraguay, Bolivia and Peru are also at a serious level, largely due to policy inaction and mismanagement by the respective governments in those countries. Rose Stokes,, "Environmental Horror & Political Scandal: What You Need To Know About The Amazon Rainforest Fires," 24 Aug. 2019 Grissom's inaction with this scandal was inexplicable and indefensible, writes Tim Sullivan. Gentry Estes, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville football may surprise some people early in 2019, but it won't last all season," 14 Aug. 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

17 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

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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to fake an opponent out of position

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