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 Their status will remain inactive for as long as DeWine’s order to close all recreation centers continues. Bob Sandrick, cleveland, "Broadview Heights lays off part-time workers due to coronavirus-related shutdowns; Strongsville, Brecksville cut worker hours," 21 Apr. 2020 According to state records, Evans remains inactive as an officer. oregonlive, "Fired Portland police recruiter who gave applicant questions for entry-level interview retains his certification," 22 Nov. 2019 Since then, the massive building, which fills an entire city block, has remained largely inactive even as other big developments have proceeded on downtown's west side. Tom Daykin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "One of downtown's largest underused office buildings is being sold and could be converted to a hotel," 12 Nov. 2019 The initial phase involves eating supper, and then completing a full 48-hour fast, while only consuming Snake Juice and remaining inactive. Cynthia Sass, Mph,, "What to Know About the Snake Diet, an Extreme Fasting Plan for Weight Loss," 14 Oct. 2019 Genes like that for EPO, which rely on HIF to switch them on, thus remain inactive. The Economist, "Batteries, exoplanets, cosmology and cell biology win Nobel laurels," 12 Oct. 2019 During her pregnancy, Lively remained fairly inactive on social media, with only five posts to date within this year. Chelsey Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, "Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds Hid the Birth of Their Third Child for Two Months for a Good Reason," 9 Oct. 2019 He was added back to the 53-man roster in December but remained inactive for the remainder of the season, including New England's 34-28 Super Bowl LI victory over the Atlanta Falcons. Robby General, Indianapolis Star, "Tom Brady asks Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett to start podcast following a tweet," 11 July 2019 The cartoon series was rebooted back in 2002 on Cartoon Network, however the franchise has remained inactive since then, despite Sony’s efforts to get a new film into production over the past several years. Matt Mcnulty,, "Noah Centineo Opens Up About Playing He-Man: ‘It’s a Really Big Responsibility’," 19 June 2019

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

31 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Inactive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Jun. 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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