qui·​es·​cent | \kwī-ˈe-sᵊnt, kwē-\

Definition of quiescent 

1 : marked by inactivity or repose : tranquilly at rest

2 : causing no trouble or symptoms quiescent gallstones

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Other Words from quiescent

quiescently adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for quiescent


dull, inactive, inert, lethargic, sleepy, sluggish, torpid



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Choose the Right Synonym for quiescent

latent, dormant, quiescent, potential mean not now showing signs of activity or existence. latent applies to a power or quality that has not yet come forth but may emerge and develop. a latent desire for success dormant suggests the inactivity of something (such as a feeling or power) as though sleeping. their passion had lain dormant quiescent suggests a usually temporary cessation of activity. the disease was quiescent potential applies to what does not yet have existence or effect but is likely soon to have. a potential disaster

Did You Know?

Quiescent won't cause you any pain, and neither will its synonyms "latent," "dormant," and "potential," at least not immediately. All four words mean "not now showing signs of activity or existence." "Latent" usually applies to something that has not yet come forth but may emerge and develop, as in "a latent desire for success." "Dormant" implies a state of inactivity similar to sleep, as in "their passions lay dormant." "Potential" applies to what may or may not come to be. "A potential disaster" is a typical example. "Quiescent," which traces to the Latin quiescere (meaning "to become quiet" or "to rest"), often suggests a temporary cessation of activity, as in "a quiescent disease" or "a summer resort quiescent in wintertime."

Examples of quiescent in a Sentence

a group of quiescent loungers recovering from the Thanksgiving feast

Recent Examples on the Web

In response, environmental groups, hitherto quiescent environmental professionals, and more — all Americans who care about the health of our country and our planet — still need to find new ways and means of mobilizing against it, and fast. Christopher Sellers, Vox, "How Republicans came to embrace anti-environmentalism," 6 July 2018 By May, the President was surrounded by advisers in name only, who competed to be the most explicitly quiescent. Evan Osnos, The New Yorker, "Trump vs. the “Deep State”," 14 May 2018 Giving the mice an NSAID (the scientists used the anti-arthritis drug meloxicam, sold as Mobic) two hours before surgery and then twice a day for three days after kept the wound from awakening the quiescent cancer cells. Sharon Begley, STAT, "Cancer surgery can awaken tumor cells, but in mice a cheap pill stops metastasis," 11 Apr. 2018 The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which acted as a loan watchdog under the Obama administration, has been relatively quiescent the past year. Susan Dynarski, New York Times, "How to Clean Up the Student Loan Mess," 6 Apr. 2018 But if inflation remains quiescent, and the fiscal stimulus propels asset prices higher instead, the Fed could face some tough decisions. Justin Lahart, WSJ, "When the Fed Wishes for Inflation," 13 Mar. 2018 With her prey calm and quiescent, the wasp can replenish her energy by breaking the roach's antennae and drinking some sweet, nutritious insect blood. Christie Wilcox, Scientific American, "How a Wasp Turns Cockroaches into Zombies," 1 May 2017 Despite some notable exceptions, such as Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the United States has had a relatively quiescent period in significant hurricane landfalls during the last decade. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Why forecasters are so concerned about Hurricane Irma," 7 Sep. 2017 Interestingly, woody plants’ roots do not enter full dormancy, but become quiescent [, as] adverse environmental conditions trigger a sort of resting state, which can then be broken once conditions improve. Bonnie Blodgett, Twin Cities, "Blundering Gardener: Your soil is your soil. Or is it?," 14 Jan. 2017

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

1605, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for quiescent

borrowed from Latin quiēscent-, quiēscens, present participle of quiēscere "to repose, fall asleep, rest, be quiet," inchoative derivative of a base quiē-, going back to Indo-European *kwi̯eh1- "have a rest" — more at quiet entry 1

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Dictionary Entries near quiescent






quiet day

quiet down

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The first known use of quiescent was in 1605

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More Definitions for quiescent



English Language Learners Definition of quiescent

: not active

medical : not now developing or causing symptoms


qui·​es·​cent | \-ᵊnt \

Medical Definition of quiescent 

1 : being in a state of arrest quiescent tuberculosis

2 : causing no symptoms quiescent gallstones

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Comments on quiescent

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to express warning or disapproval

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