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 As the minutes pressed on, the gentle hum of the computer sounded dull and inanimate. Aaron Peter, Wired, "I Bricked My Computer With a BIOS Update. But There's Hope!," 15 Nov. 2020 The claim that Biden called for inanimate cattle guards to be retrained is FALSE, based on our research. Abby Patkin, USA TODAY, "Fact check: Decades-old joke about cattle guards ropes in Biden, Obama," 2 July 2010 Taking a page out of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, scientists have engineered a spray that turns inanimate materials into mobile, insect-scale machines. Joel Goldberg, Science | AAAS, "Magnetic spray transforms inanimate objects into minirobots," 24 Nov. 2020 Valéry elsewhere relied more heavily on inanimate or mythical subjects—goddesses, statues, even plants—frequently deploying them in service to the poems’ formal and musical structures. Claire Messud, The New York Review of Books, "The Dream of Pure Expression," 17 Nov. 2020 Submit an image of a man — or an inanimate object — and it will be transformed to include breasts and female genitalia. Washington Post, "A shadowy AI service has transformed thousands of women’s photos into fake nudes: “Make fantasy a reality”," 20 Oct. 2020 The snowy skin, meanwhile, is an anomaly in the boundary between the body of a living man and his inanimate surroundings. Jeremy England, WSJ, "The Creator’s Calling Card," 24 Sep. 2020 Panpsychists contend that all creatures and even inanimate matter—even a single proton!—possess consciousness. John Horgan, Scientific American, "How Do I Know I'm Not the Only Conscious Being in the Universe?," 11 Sep. 2020 The lyre was infused with magic, powerful enough to charm people and even inanimate objects like trees, streams, and rocks. Ineye Komonibo,, "Ed Sheeran Is A Dad Now & His Daughter Has The Most Musical Name," 3 Sep. 2020

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

Last Updated

25 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Inanimate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Jan. 2021.

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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

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