sed·​en·​tary | \ ˈse-dᵊn-ˌter-ē How to pronounce sedentary (audio) \

Definition of sedentary

1 : not migratory : settled sedentary birds sedentary civilizations
2a : doing or requiring much sitting a sedentary job
b : not physically active a sedentary lifestyle
3 : permanently attached sedentary barnacles

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Sit and Learn About Sedentary

English speakers borrowed sedentary in the late 16th century from Middle French sedentaire, which in turn derives from Latin sedentarius. Sedentarius, which means "of one that sits," is from the present participle of the verb sedēre, meaning "to sit." Other descendants of sedēre in English include dissident, insidious, preside, reside, and subsidy. Sedēre is also the base of the rare word sedens, a noun meaning "a person who remains a resident of the place or region of his birth."

Examples of sedentary in a Sentence

Editing the dictionary is a sedentary job. The work is very sedentary. Their health problems were caused by their sedentary lifestyles. He became sedentary later on in his life.
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Recent Examples on the Web But things are trickier for sedentary marine creatures like snails, worms, and clams, according to a new study. Erik Stokstad, Science | AAAS, "Ocean warming has seafloor species headed in the wrong direction," 7 Sep. 2020 With Americans more sedentary than ever, that’s particularly alarming. Arthur L. Weltman, The Conversation, "If sitting at a desk all day is bad during coronavirus, could I lie down to work instead?," 4 Sep. 2020 According to public health experts, inadequate ventilation and poor hygiene were to blame: crowded tenements, stuffy rooms, dirty linens, bed-sharing in working-class families and too many sedentary hours spent indoors. Daniela Blei, Smithsonian Magazine, "When Tuberculosis Struck the World, Schools Went Outside," 1 Sep. 2020 Finally, a 2019 study in JAMA Cardiology concluded that obese, sedentary adults who strength trained experienced different outcomes than those who performed aerobic exercise. Pam Moore, Washington Post, "Cardio isn’t enough. For a healthy heart, add resistance training.," 31 Aug. 2020 Our bodies can become even more sedentary as a result of the pandemic and working from home. Stephanie Mansour, CNN, "This 5-minute midday workout will get you out of your chair," 26 Aug. 2020 But in multiple epidemiological studies, people — and in particular, men — whose jobs require physical labor face heightened risks of premature death compared to men working in relatively sedentary professions. Gretchen Reynolds, Star Tribune, "Physically draining activity at work may take toll on brains," 13 Aug. 2020 The waterproof tracker’s capabilities include 24/7 real time heart rate and sleep monitoring; distance, steps, speed and calorie burn tracking; call and text alerts; and sedentary alerts. Courtney Thompson, CNN Underscored, "Maximize your Peloton ride with these top-selling heart rate monitors on Amazon," 13 Aug. 2020 Headline after headline decried the sedentary lifestyle's negative impact on our health. Simon Hill, Wired, "A Standing Desk Changed My Life—It Can Save Yours Too," 22 Aug. 2020

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

1598, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for sedentary

Middle French sedentaire, from Latin sedentarius, from sedent-, sedens, present participle of sedēre to sit — more at sit

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Time Traveler for sedentary

Time Traveler

The first known use of sedentary was in 1598

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Statistics for sedentary

Last Updated

19 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sedentary.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for sedentary


How to pronounce sedentary (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of sedentary

: doing or involving a lot of sitting : not doing or involving much physical activity
: staying or living in one place instead of moving to different places


sed·​en·​tary | \ ˈse-dᵊn-ˌter-ē How to pronounce sedentary (audio) \

Kids Definition of sedentary

: doing much sitting : not physically active


sed·​en·​tary | \ ˈsed-ᵊn-ˌter-ē How to pronounce sedentary (audio) \

Medical Definition of sedentary

: doing or requiring much sitting : characterized by a lack of physical activity increased risk of heart disease for those with sedentary jobs

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