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)

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Other Words from inactive

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

Synonyms & Antonyms for inactive



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Choose the Right Synonym for inactive

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 He is known to be active on social media but has been inactive since his disappearance. Carol Robinson |, al, "Birmingham teen missing for 4 days; public’s help sought in locating him," 10 Feb. 2020 While players TJ Leaf, Aaron Holiday and Myles Turner were reported to be possible trade candidates, the Indiana Pacers were inactive during the deadline Thursday. Akeem Glaspie, Indianapolis Star, "Pacers Doug McDermott, Justin Holiday on what it's like to be dealt on the trade deadline," 6 Feb. 2020 Kehoe, who enjoyed a 50-year career, had been inactive in recent years after suffering a debilitating stroke in 2015. Maureen Lee Lenker,, "Jack Kehoe, character actor in Serpico and The Sting, dies at 85," 23 Jan. 2020 But while McGregor was inactive, the U.F.C. did not always have a single, standout, crossover star. Morgan Campbell, New York Times, "Conor McGregor and U.F.C. Attempt a Shift Away from Heel Status," 18 Jan. 2020 South Africa has a massive 52 active high risk tailings dams and a further 27 which are inactive, meaning they are currently not being used. Tawanda Karombo, Quartz Africa, "South Africa has the world’s highest number of environmentally dangerous tailing dams," 16 Jan. 2020 Under heavy pressure from both the government in London and their own voters, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Sinn Fein have agreed to revive the Belfast assembly, Stormont, which has been inactive for three full years. The Economist, "Forced remarriage Northern Ireland gets a government again," 10 Jan. 2020 His dazzling 38-point, 12-rebound performance added to another pattern, too — this one more puzzling: Some of Porzingis best games with Dallas have come with Luka Doncic inactive. Callie Caplan, Dallas News, "Why the Mavericks aren’t concerned some of Kristaps Porzingis’ best games have come without Luka Doncic," 4 Feb. 2020 The Suns were playing short-handed with Ty Jerome, Cameron Johnson, Frank Kaminsky and Dario Saric all inactive. Ben Steele, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Bucks 129, Suns 108: Back to their winning ways, and wire-to-wire too," 2 Feb. 2020

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.

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First Known Use of inactive

1664, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for inactive

Time Traveler

The first known use of inactive was in 1664

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Statistics for inactive

Last Updated

23 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Inactive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for inactive


How to pronounce inactive (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of inactive

: not doing things that require physical movement and energy : not exercising
: not involved in the activities of a group or organization
: no longer being used : not currently being used


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 inactivity (audio) \ noun, plural inactivities

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More from Merriam-Webster on inactive

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for inactive

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with inactive

Spanish Central: Translation of inactive

Nglish: Translation of inactive for Spanish Speakers

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