in·​ac·​tive | \ (ˌ)i-ˈnak-tiv How to pronounce inactive (audio) \

Definition of inactive

: not active: such as
a(1) : sedentary
b(1) : being out of use
(2) : relating to or being members of the armed forces who are not performing or available for military duties
(3) of a disease : quiescent
c(1) : chemically inert
(2) : optically neutral in polarized light
d : biologically inert especially because of the loss of some quality (such as infectivity or antigenicity)

Other Words from inactive

inactively adverb
inactivity \ (ˌ)i-​ˌnak-​ˈti-​və-​tē How to pronounce inactive (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for inactive



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inactive, idle, inert, passive, supine mean not engaged in work or activity. inactive applies to anyone or anything not in action or in operation or at work. on inactive status as an astronaut inactive accounts idle applies to persons that are not busy or occupied or to their powers or their implements. workers were idle in the fields inert as applied to things implies powerlessness to move or to affect other things; as applied to persons it suggests an inherent or habitual indisposition to activity. inert ingredients in drugs an inert citizenry passive implies immobility or lack of normally expected response to an external force or influence and often suggests deliberate submissiveness or self-control. passive resistance supine applies only to persons and commonly implies abjectness or indolence. a supine willingness to play the fool

Examples of inactive in a Sentence

Inactive people suffer higher rates of heart disease. it's easiest to catch snakes early in the morning, while they're still cold and inactive
Recent Examples on the Web Beginning with this weekend’s games, the number of players on each USFL team’s game-day roster will expand from 38 to 40 and the inactive list for each squad will grow from seven to 10 players, allowing every club to add five players to its roster. Mark Inabinett |, al, 19 May 2022 New Jersey placed him on the inactive list for the contest because of knee and ankle injuries. Mark Inabinett |, al, 6 May 2022 Cardinals: Seven players were on the inactive list, including RB Chase Edmonds (ribs/toe), WR Rondale Moore (ankle), CB Marco Wilson (shoulder) and DL Jordan Phillips (knee). ... David Brandt, ajc, 10 Jan. 2022 Quarterback Brett Hundley rounds out the inactive list; Hundley was on the roster in case starting quarterback Carson Wentz wasn’t cleared from the reserve/COVID-19 list in time, but Wentz was cleared on Sunday morning and is expected to start. Joel A. Erickson, The Indianapolis Star, 3 Jan. 2022 Duvernay’s return pushed James Proche to the inactive list, but Wallace held on to his piece of the pie. Childs Walker,, 3 Jan. 2022 This week, nearly 200 players have been placed on the COVID-19 inactive list. Chris Hays,, 26 Dec. 2021 Davidson, who had a pick-6 against Tom Brady earlier this month, was on the inactive list for last week’s loss at San Francisco with an illness. Tom Withers,, 24 Dec. 2021 Among the inactive players are Los Angeles defensive back Blake Countess (Auburn) and outside linebacker Terrell Lewis (Alabama). Mark Inabinett |, al, 13 Feb. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'inactive.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of inactive

1664, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of inactive was in 1664

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Last Updated

22 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Inactive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for inactive


in·​ac·​tive | \ i-ˈnak-tiv How to pronounce inactive (audio) \

Kids Definition of inactive

: not active or in use an inactive volcano inactive mines


in·​ac·​tive | \ (ˈ)in-ˈak-tiv How to pronounce inactive (audio) \

Medical Definition of inactive

: not active: as
a : marked by deliberate or enforced absence of activity or effort forced by illness to lead an inactive life
b of a disease : not progressing or fulminant : quiescent
c(1) : chemically inert inactive charcoal
(2) : not exhibiting optical activity in polarized light
d : biologically inert especially because of the loss of some quality (as infectivity or antigenicity)

Other Words from inactive

inactivity \ (ˌ)in-​ˌak-​ˈtiv-​ət-​ē How to pronounce inactive (audio) \ noun, plural inactivities

More from Merriam-Webster on inactive

Nglish: Translation of inactive for Spanish Speakers


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