non·​liv·​ing ˌnän-ˈli-viŋ How to pronounce nonliving (audio)
: not having, characterized by, or marked by life : not alive or living
nonliving matter
… prebiotic molecules—the nonliving building blocks from which the proteins, genetic codes and cellular complexity of living organisms arise.Malcolm W. Browne

Examples of nonliving in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Searching for water vapor rather than just heat, van Breugel and his coauthors point out, could keep the insects from wasting their time on warm but nonliving objects such as dark rocks. Elizabeth Preston, Discover Magazine, 21 Aug. 2015 Phosphine, the argument goes, is not generally expected to be produced, or to survive for very long, in the abiotic (nonliving) chemistry anticipated for this part of Venus’s environment. Caleb A. Scharf, Scientific American, 5 Oct. 2020

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'nonliving.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1868, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of nonliving was in 1868

Dictionary Entries Near nonliving

Cite this Entry

“Nonliving.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Dec. 2023.

Medical Definition


non·​liv·​ing -ˈliv-iŋ How to pronounce nonliving (audio)
: not having or characterized by life

More from Merriam-Webster on nonliving

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