in·​an·​i·​mate | \ (ˌ)i-ˈna-nə-mət How to pronounce inanimate (audio) \

Definition of inanimate

1 : not animate:
a : not endowed with life or spirit an inanimate object
b : lacking consciousness or power of motion an inanimate body
2 : not animated or lively : dull

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Other Words from inanimate

inanimately adverb
inanimateness noun

Did You Know?

The couch you sit on while you watch TV is an inanimate object, as is your footrest, your bag of snacks, and your remote control. Spend too much time on that couch and you risk becoming a couch potato. (A potato is an inanimate object.)

Examples of inanimate in a Sentence

“pathetic fallacy” is the literary term for the ascription of human feelings or motives to inanimate natural elements
Recent Examples on the Web For inanimate objects, books have a tendency to eat a lot. Trevor Fraser,, "Free reads for book lovers at Orlando Book Hoarder Meetup," 12 Nov. 2019 Now Ibrahimovic is apparently taking his frustrations out on inanimate objects, reportedly trashing the visiting dressing room at Cincinnati’s Nippert Stadium late last month. Kevin Baxter,, "Soccer! What to watch for in the U.S.-England Women’s World Cup semifinal match," 2 July 2019 Scientists are now evaluating emotional responses to cute inanimate objects. Diana Budds, Curbed, "Cute furniture is a reprieve from our age of anxiety," 7 Aug. 2019 Earning our affection There's nothing new about humans bonding with inanimate objects, of course. Kate Baggaley, NBC News, "New companion robots can't do much but make us love them," 23 June 2019 Even on inanimate objects, oral can be one of the most rewarding and intimate parts of getting it on. Sophie Saint Thomas,, "The Most Satisfying Sex Positions for Lesbians," 20 June 2019 Dolls, afterall, are inanimate objects that have no capacity to fight for themselves or speak their mind. Gianluca Russo, Teen Vogue, ""Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists" Season One Successfully Smashed the Dollhouse of the Original Series and Empowered Its Leading Women," 22 May 2019 Because Old Glory seemed horrified when President Trump enveloped her in an unreciprocated bear hug at the CPAC conference last Sunday—proving that the president not only grabs women by their private parts, but inanimate objects as well. Lynn Yaeger, Vogue, "The Week in Washington: Can a Flagpole File a Harassment Lawsuit?," 10 Mar. 2019 But unlike leases for inanimate objects, some of the terms included with pet leases can have troubling consequences. Nancy Coleman, WSJ, "Just Bought a New Puppy? It Might Be a Rental," 19 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'inanimate.' 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 inanimate

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for inanimate

Middle English, from Late Latin inanimatus, from Latin in- + animatus, past participle of animare to animate

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Time Traveler for inanimate

Time Traveler

The first known use of inanimate was in the 15th century

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Statistics for inanimate

Cite this Entry

“Inanimate.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 23 January 2020.

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More Definitions for inanimate


How to pronounce inanimate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of inanimate

: not living : not capable of life


in·​an·​i·​mate | \ i-ˈna-nə-mət How to pronounce inanimate (audio) \

Kids Definition of inanimate

: not living Stones are inanimate objects.


in·​an·​i·​mate | \ (ˈ)in-ˈan-ə-mət How to pronounce inanimate (audio) \

Medical Definition of inanimate

: not animate:
a : not endowed with life or spirit
b : lacking consciousness or power of motion

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Comments on inanimate

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


out of the ordinary or unreasonable

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