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

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 In this supernatural horror, possessed inanimate objects wreak havoc on the lives of people who commit deadly sins. Naman Ramachandran, Variety, 28 Apr. 2022 The novel's most crushing scene, only a few lines long and told in passing, involves a young child deep into pandemic lockdown having a conversation with an inanimate object, trying to make friends. Amy Brady, Scientific American, 1 Apr. 2022 By literal definition, a fetish—any fetish—is an attraction to an inanimate object. Angie Jones, Glamour, 17 Mar. 2022 But on the bright-ish side, an inanimate object can never leave them (that still feels dark). Lester Fabian Brathwaite,, 18 Feb. 2022 What looked like an inanimate object was actually a tiny, sap-sucking insect called oystershell scale. Lindsey Botts, The Arizona Republic, 23 Jan. 2022 Glenn Whipp, awards columnist for the Los Angeles Times, host of The Envelope’s Friday newsletter, and the guy who would never deny you a cookie just to keep the peace with an inanimate object. Los Angeles Times, 7 Jan. 2022 Is this seemingly inanimate object actually made of cake? Washington Post, 18 Mar. 2022 Never before has an inanimate slice of nature tried to defend its rights in an American courtroom. Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker, 11 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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

Learn More About inanimate

Time Traveler for inanimate

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near inanimate



inanimate object

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Statistics for inanimate

Last Updated

12 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Inanimate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for inanimate


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

More from Merriam-Webster on inanimate

Nglish: Translation of inanimate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of inanimate for Arabic Speakers


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