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 inactive (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 When the school year ends, most kids will return home and spend the summer inactive and separated from their peers. Nick Melvoin, Time, "If Biden Wants to Help America's Kids, He Should Call for Free Day Camps," 1 May 2021 But in nutrient-rich and adequately watered soils, plants are less dependent on mycorrhizae, causing the fungi to remain inactive. Rita Perwich, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Just how fertile is your rose-growing knowledge?," 1 May 2021 Only inactive players, coaches, and staff wore masks. Gary Washburn,, "Nets sold out for James Harden, but will it be worth it?," 16 Jan. 2021 Coaches and inactive players must wear a mask throughout the game. Tom Orsborn,, "San Antonio Spurs bemoan loss of Derrick White," 5 Jan. 2021 G/F Furkan Korkmaz was inactive after spraining an ankle against Phoenix on Wednesday night. ... Rich Rovito, ajc, "Bucks start out strong, defeat 76ers 124-117," 23 Apr. 2021 G/F Furkan Korkmaz was inactive after spraining an ankle against Phoenix on Wednesday night. ... Rich Rovito, Star Tribune, "Bucks start out strong, defeat 76ers 124-117," 22 Apr. 2021 New research out Wednesday from Advance Democracy shows that a previously inactive account then posted nine videos using the same hashtag to pump out the same content in an effort to evade the crackdown. Jessica Guynn, USA TODAY, "'A long way to go:' Why TikTok still has a QAnon and COVID vaccine conspiracy theory problem," 16 Apr. 2021 The malware appears to be inactive now that the websites are gone. Jacob Siegal, BGR, "Facebook let a fake, malware-filled ‘Clubhouse’ app run ads on its site," 9 Apr. 2021

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

10 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Inactive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for inactive



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 inactive (audio) \ noun, plural inactivities

More from Merriam-Webster on inactive

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for inactive

Nglish: Translation of inactive for Spanish Speakers

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