stag·​nant | \ ˈstag-nənt How to pronounce stagnant (audio) \

Definition of stagnant

1a(1) : not flowing in a current or stream stagnant water
(2) : without inflow and outflow a stagnant pool
b : stale long disuse had made the air stagnant and foul— Bram Stoker
2 : not advancing or developing a stagnant economy

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Other Words from stagnant

stagnancy \ ˈstag-​nən(t)-​sē How to pronounce stagnancy (audio) \ noun
stagnantly adverb

Examples of stagnant in a Sentence

… many people who make their living in academia are reasonably well insulated from financial devastation. For most tenured faculty, the worst they are likely to experience is stagnant pay and deferred retirement. — Andrew Delbanco, The New York Review of Books, 14 May 2009 "For adults, entertainment needs to be relevant to their life." Chen points to the stagnant US comic book industry as an example of irrelevance. "I don't want to see video games become like American superhero comics," he admits. "American comics live and die based on a very niche audience. In Japan, comics are a national art form." — Sid Shuman, Gamepro, May 2009 The blue-green algae blooms can occur in both freshwater and saltwater environments, but are most commonly found in stagnant bodies of water enriched by runoff, Paerl said. Public health officials in the southeastern United States are beginning to monitor water supplies for some of the toxins. — Bridget M. Kuehn, Journal of the American Medical Association, 25 May 2005
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Recent Examples on the Web

Protest organizers urged one million people to demonstrate Friday, after tens of thousands took to the streets during the week calling for political change in the energy-rich but economically stagnant country. Jared Malsin, WSJ, "Algerians Stage Rare Protests Against Leader’s Rule," 1 Mar. 2019 Turner was brought in to revive a stagnant Panthers offense that has finished 19th in total yardage each of the past two seasons under former offensive coordinator Mike Shula, who was fired. Scott Fowler, charlotteobserver, "New Panthers receiver proclaims: 'I could teach Norv Turner’s offense to a baby' | Charlotte Observer," 1 May 2018 Social scientists say stagnant incomes, rising inequality and technological advances all factors in the growing interest in universal income. NBC News, "Finland's experiment with giving away money shines a light on the idea of universal basic income," 29 Apr. 2018 Workers with a high school education or less, who have borne the brunt of stagnant pay and unemployment for a decade, are in high demand. Justin Lahart, WSJ, "Good News for Low-Wage Workers, Bad News for Profits," 8 May 2018 As annual lottery revenue has grown over the years, the money allocated to these programs has remained relatively stagnant because of limits the Legislature and voters set. Alia Beard Rau, azcentral, "Arizona Lottery doesn't directly fund education (and never did)," 15 May 2018 While the city’s population increased, the number of police officers and firefighters remained stagnant. Gustavo Solis,, "Chula Vista doesn't need more taxes, says group opposing Measure A," 7 May 2018 Shelby County continues to drive growth in the Birmingham-Hoover metro area - now the fifth largest county in the state -- while Jefferson County remains stagnant. Erin Edgemon,, "Census: Shelby County drives growth in metro, Jefferson County stagnant," 22 Mar. 2018 The lack of adequate housing, especially in prosperous urban centers, led to a stagnant job market. Kevin Erdmann, WSJ, "Rich Cities Created the Housing Shortage," 6 Jan. 2019

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

1610, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

History and Etymology for stagnant

see stagnate

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Statistics for stagnant

Last Updated

14 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for stagnant

The first known use of stagnant was in 1610

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More Definitions for stagnant



English Language Learners Definition of stagnant

: not flowing
: not active, changing, or progressing


stag·​nant | \ ˈstag-nənt How to pronounce stagnant (audio) \

Kids Definition of stagnant

1 : not flowing a stagnant pool
2 : not active or brisk : dull stagnant business

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More from Merriam-Webster on stagnant

Spanish Central: Translation of stagnant

Nglish: Translation of stagnant for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of stagnant for Arabic Speakers

Comments on stagnant

What made you want to look up stagnant? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


grandiloquent, ostentatious, or bombastic

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