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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Another smoky week expected in the Bay Area: Weather forecasters had good news Monday for firefighters wrestling the three massive blazes across the Bay Area: Winds should be stagnant this week. Chronicle Staff,, "California Wildfires: Live Updates Aug. 31-Sept. 1," 3 Sep. 2020 Upon taking office, Mr. Abe promised to revive the stagnant economy through structural reform, fiscal stimulus and aggressive monetary easing. Greg Ip, WSJ, "As World Turns Inward, Shinzo Abe’s Japan Has Turned Outward," 2 Sep. 2020 Ramaphosa is looking for ways to revive South Africa’s stagnant economy and help boost investor confidence in his administration. Paul Vecchiatto,, "Ramaphosa Considers Cabinet Changes in Bid to Drive Reforms," 29 Aug. 2020 But the economy was not stagnant when Trump entered office. Timothy Noah, The New Republic, "Larry Kudlow’s Economic Hallucinations," 28 Aug. 2020 Devil’s Bathtub, too, normally a fast-moving swirl of water, was unusually stagnant. Susan Glaser, cleveland, "Exploring Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio’s crown jewel, with new one-way trails and an overnight lodge on the way," 27 Aug. 2020 Cloud cover and a generally stagnant air mass have kept temperatures low. Greg Porter, Washington Post, "PM Update: Muggy overnight, warmer on Sunday," 8 Aug. 2020 So the numbers of babies who never get a chance to live remains stagnant in the United States. Laura Johnston, cleveland, "Stillbirth kills 24,000 American babies each year: Here’s why you should care," 8 Sep. 2020 But that’s bad news for air quality, as stagnant air means smoke will have the chance to settle. Chronicle Staff,, "California Wildfires: Live Updates Aug. 31-Sept. 1," 3 Sep. 2020

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.

See More

First Known Use of stagnant

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

History and Etymology for stagnant

see stagnate

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about stagnant

Time Traveler for stagnant

Time Traveler

The first known use of stagnant was in 1610

See more words from the same year

Statistics for stagnant

Last Updated

23 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Stagnant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Sep. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for stagnant


How to pronounce stagnant (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized drawing of woman pole vaulting across gap to get trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!