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 People these experts have sold related products to, treated or studied include athletes of nearly all levels of ability, people who lead sedentary lifestyles, and those recovering from injuries, and range from 18 years old to 104. Kristen Rogers, CNN, 31 July 2021 That tends to mean that children spend more time in front of screens, sedentary and often snacking. Kim Tingley, New York Times, 24 June 2021 After 34 years with the Fort Lauderdale Ocean Rescue and 31 years in Pompano Beach as a part-time lifeguard, McCrady refuses to head off into the sunset and lead a sedentary lifestyle. Emmett Hall,, 15 July 2021 Experienced practitioners at Lanserhof are skilled in recognizing the changes in human physiology associated with lifestyles which have become more sedentary for many people. Nel-olivia Waga, Forbes, 17 June 2021 More kids became sedentary during the pandemic lockdown, and rates of being overweight and obese increased, along with secondary complications including high blood pressure, insulin resistance and elevated cholesterol. Washington Post, 6 July 2021 Over the course of about 30 years, men in sedentary jobs outlived those who often walked or otherwise exerted themselves at work. Gretchen Reynolds, Star Tribune, 2 July 2021 It’s officially summer, which means many are looking to travel this season – perhaps to make up for a mostly sedentary year marked by stay-at-home orders to slow the spread of COVID-19. Marc Saltzman, USA TODAY, 26 June 2021 When his sports lifeline was abruptly cut, Johnny struggled to adapt to the sedentary routine of online classes. Melissa Gomez, Los Angeles Times, 13 June 2021

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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Learn More About sedentary

Time Traveler for sedentary

Time Traveler

The first known use of sedentary was in 1598

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Dictionary Entries Near sedentary



sedentary soil

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Statistics for sedentary

Last Updated

15 Aug 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sedentary.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for sedentary



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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