in·ac·tive | \ (ˌ)i-ˈnak-tiv \

Definition of inactive 

: not active: such as

a(1) : sedentary

(2) : indolent, sluggish

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 \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for inactive


dull, inert, lethargic, quiescent, sleepy, sluggish, torpid



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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

With a two-way contract, a player spends the majority of a season playing in the G League but can spend up to 45 days on his NBA parent team’s active or inactive roster. Josh Robbins,, "Magic sign FSU alum Braian Angola-Rodas to Exhibit 10 contract," 14 July 2018 Avisail had been inactive since April 24 with a right hamstring strain, and had a setback with an unspecified knee injury during a workout. Phil Thompson,, "White Sox welcome Garcias back after long stints on disabled list," 23 June 2018 The Russian agents attempted to get into an inactive computer at the state Department of Workforce Development, according to past accounts of the incident. Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Russians attempted to break into Wisconsin voter registration system, but state not mentioned in indictment," 13 July 2018 Town Manager Joseph Colangelo said the inactive device was discovered last Thursday. Laney Ruckstuhl,, "Hanover pond shut down indefinitely after inactive explosive discovered," 19 June 2018 Doss was inactive for that game, and ended up playing in 15 games for the Broncos in three seasons. Chapel Fowler, charlotteobserver, "Panthers newcomer is turning heads. Why is Ron Rivera taking wait-and-see approach?," 15 June 2018 The cleanup was prompted by a 2015 wastewater spill at the inactive Gold King mine near Silverton, Colo. Dan Elliott, The Christian Science Monitor, "EPA announces plan to clean up Colorado mines," 15 June 2018 The state commission will continue to exist through its 10-year term but will remain inactive as long as the city continues to balance its budget and meet other financial requirements. Kris Maher, WSJ, "Detroit Released from State Oversight," 30 Apr. 2018 Even Steph Curry, who is inactive for the series, was shocked. Nihal Kolur,, "David West Picks Up Technical Foul While Running to Stationary Bike," 22 Apr. 2018

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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Statistics for inactive

Last Updated

21 Aug 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for inactive

The first known use of inactive was in 1664

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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 \

Kids Definition of inactive

: not active or in use an inactive volcano inactive mines


in·ac·tive | \ (ˈ)in-ˈak-tiv \

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 \ noun plural inactivities

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Comments on inactive

What made you want to look up inactive? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the setting in which something occurs

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