1 of 2


inaner; inanest
: lacking significance, meaning, or point : silly
inane comments
inanely adverb
inaneness noun


2 of 2


: void or empty space
a voyage into the limitless inaneV. G. Childe

Did you know?

Can inane Be Used As a Noun?

Inane suggests emptiness in thought or meaning, and as a noun it has similar use, as in "thoughts making excursions into the incomprehensible inane" (the example is attributed to the 17th-century philosopher John Locke). The noun is not often used nowadays, but the adjective fills the void.

Choose the Right Synonym for inane

insipid, vapid, flat, jejune, banal, inane mean devoid of qualities that make for spirit and character.

insipid implies a lack of sufficient taste or savor to please or interest.

an insipid romance with platitudes on every page

vapid suggests a lack of liveliness, force, or spirit.

an exciting story given a vapid treatment

flat applies to things that have lost their sparkle or zest.

although well-regarded in its day, the novel now seems flat

jejune suggests a lack of rewarding or satisfying substance.

a jejune and gassy speech

banal stresses the complete absence of freshness, novelty, or immediacy.

a banal tale of unrequited love

inane implies a lack of any significant or convincing quality.

an inane interpretation of the play

Example Sentences

Adjective All around us swirls the battering of gargantuan films, Styrofoam epics with megatons of special effects, gleefully inane adolescent films, horror films that really are horrible. Stanley Kauffmann, New Republic, 15 Mar. 2004
The surfeit of home runs is a sop to all the Philistines who require inane diversions like programmed races between electronic dots on the scoreboard to make it through a two-hit shutout. Nicholas Dawidoff, New York Times Magazine, 4 Apr. 1999
Though feminist leaders are mostly aligned with those sentiments, they can't separate their quest for economic equity from the inane political correctness of their extremist sisters. Mary Matalin, Newsweek, 25 Oct. 1993
I quickly tired of their inane comments. The film's plot is inane and full of clichés. Noun And thus likewise we sometimes speak of place, distance, or bulk in the great inane beyond the confines of the world. John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, 1689
See More
Recent Examples on the Web
While Grant’s position is clearly unique, leaders are often put in a similar situation and have to answer seemingly inane questions from their peers, team members, and the board all too often. Orianna Rosa Royle, Fortune, 13 Mar. 2023 James Carville the other night on MSNBC amusingly and almost persuasively said Democrats in the 2022 congressional elections should hit Republicans hard on their weirdo content—candidates who are both extreme and inane, conspiracists in the base. Peggy Noonan, WSJ, 21 Apr. 2022 An inane amount of time must be spent sterilizing equipment and testing cells for contamination to ensure contaminated products aren’t delivered to the market. John Cumbers, Forbes, 22 Feb. 2023 Normally inane details such as what the bartender in the spot wears and whether the Coors Light Silver Bullet Train appears now had real money –and real gaming regulations—riding on them. Jeanette Hurt, Forbes, 12 Feb. 2023 There will be an uproar if the government moves forward with this inane idea to ban gas stoves. WSJ, 29 Jan. 2023 Could even Antifa maniacs enjoy such an inane argument? Armond White, National Review, 25 Jan. 2023 There are 21 wild seasons of Mythbusters on Discovery+, meaning almost 300 episodes of inane urban legends, crash test dummies facing down precarious situations, and big old-fashioned explosions. Marah Eakin, Vulture, 1 Apr. 2022 The root cause was inane, but the display of devoted camaraderie of the Lunchpail AC was a sight to behold. Kevin Paul Dupont,, 17 Dec. 2022
June 19: [At the disco Private Eyes, with Greg and friends]: spent a couple of hours amidst the inane thumping music. Thomas Mallon, The New Yorker, 5 Dec. 2022 My guess is that the patriotic disguise is hollow and that the inane, formulaic Maverick is a test. Armond White, National Review, 27 May 2022 Olive misses her husband and daughter back on the moon as her publisher spirits her to public readings, panel discussions and inane interviews with poorly prepared journalists. Washington Post, 12 Apr. 2022 His behavior and inane remarks have likely contributed to the decline. Richard N. Bond, CNN, 23 Mar. 2022 However, even his uptempo contributions border on the inane. Jon O'brien, Billboard, 23 Mar. 2022 HBO Max's row, although not listed as sponsored, suffers from the same inane, baseless content recommendations. Corey Gaskin, Ars Technica, 2 Feb. 2022 Imitating Arthur’s inane work back to him is just twisting the knife. Kathleen Newman-bremang,, 13 Jan. 2022 Not until Page 672 does Obama mention him by name, in a passage on the inane 2011 controversy over his birthplace. Dallas News, 18 Nov. 2020 See More

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

Word History


Adjective and Noun

Latin inanis

First Known Use


1662, in the meaning defined at sense 2


1677, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of inane was in 1662


Cite this Entry

“Inane.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


: lacking meaning or point : silly
inane remarks about the weather
inanely adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on inane

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

What Did You Just Call Me?

  • brown chihuahua sitting on the floor with squinting eyes looking at the camera
  • Before we went to her house, Hannah told us her aunt was a flibbertigibbet.
Spell It

Hear a word and type it out. How many can you get right?

Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?