in·​ert | \ i-ˈnərt How to pronounce inert (audio) \

Definition of inert

1 : lacking the power to move
2 : very slow to move or act : sluggish
3 : deficient in active properties especially : lacking a usual or anticipated chemical or biological action

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Other Words from inert

inert noun
inertly adverb
inertness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for inert

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 inert in a Sentence

an inert and lifeless body How does he propose to stimulate the inert economy and create jobs?
Recent Examples on the Web In his press conference last week, Ghosn noted that the Nissan-Renault Alliance is functionally inert since his arrest. Eric C. Evarts, Fortune, "What was Carlos Ghosn Thinking in Pulling off His Great Escape? A Former Colleague Offers Clues," 13 Jan. 2020 By that point, viewers who don’t know the book might be ready to give up on this grim, slow, emotionally inert procedural. Judy Berman, Time, "Cynthia Erivo Is the Saving Grace of HBO’s Muddled Stephen King Adaptation The Outsider," 7 Jan. 2020 With the exception of the bulldozer Pro Bowl tight end, the offense was inert: Kittle accounted for 13 of Jimmy Garoppolo’s 22 completions and 134 of the 49ers’ 313 yards. Eric Branch,, "49ers game grades vs. Falcons: The trap was set ... and it caught the 49ers," 15 Dec. 2019 Much like the plastic coating on a copper wire, myelin was understood to be vital for neural transmission but inert and irrelevant to information processing and memory storage. R. Douglas Fields, Scientific American, "Deeper Insights Emerge into How Memories Form," 18 Nov. 2019 Roy’s dazed musings and Ad Astra’s poky pace frequently place it on the wrong side of the divide between thoughtful and inert. Kyle Smith, National Review, "Brad Pitt’s Egotism Is Hurting His Movies," 18 Sep. 2019 And now a core piece of that cleanup, a 17-year, $17 billion construction project, approaches startup of the first phase of transforming the waste into inert glass. Tim Newcomb, Popular Mechanics, "The Long Fight to Clean Up America’s Cold War Nuclear Waste," 10 Dec. 2019 Give The Atlantic The five hours or so that preceded it, though, had mostly the opposite effect, where any scenes without Rachel Brosnahan’s unsinkable comic Midge Maisel—and even a few with her—were either inert or insufferable. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel," 7 Dec. 2019 This introduced the false dichotomy of subject and object and imagined humans as the sole perceiving agents in a universe of inert matter. Meghan O’gieblyn, The New Yorker, "Do We Have Minds of Our Own?," 4 Dec. 2019

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

1647, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for inert

Latin inert-, iners unskilled, idle, from in- + art-, ars skill — more at arm

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Time Traveler for inert

Time Traveler

The first known use of inert was in 1647

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Statistics for inert

Last Updated

19 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Inert.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 22 January 2020.

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More Definitions for inert


How to pronounce inert (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of inert

: unable to move
: moving or acting very slowly
chemistry : not able to affect other chemicals when in contact with them : not chemically reactive


in·​ert | \ i-ˈnərt How to pronounce inert (audio) \

Kids Definition of inert

: unable or slow to move or react inert gas

Other Words from inert

inertness noun


in·​ert | \ in-ˈərt How to pronounce inert (audio) \

Medical Definition of inert

1 : lacking the power to move
2 : deficient in active properties especially : lacking a usual or anticipated chemical or biological action an inert drug

Other Words from inert

inertness noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on inert

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for inert

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with inert

Spanish Central: Translation of inert

Nglish: Translation of inert for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of inert for Arabic Speakers

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