non·​liv·​ing | \ ˌnän-ˈli-viŋ How to pronounce nonliving (audio) \

Definition of nonliving

: 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 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, "Life's Small-Molecule Problem," 5 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'nonliving.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of nonliving

1868, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of nonliving was in 1868

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Cite this Entry

“Nonliving.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for nonliving


non·​liv·​ing | \ ˈnän-ˈli-viŋ \

Kids Definition of nonliving

: not living nonliving matter


non·​liv·​ing | \ -ˈliv-iŋ How to pronounce nonliving (audio) \

Medical Definition of nonliving

: not having or characterized by life

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