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

In the 1980s, student activists noticed that Asian-American college admission rates remained stagnant despite a rapid increase in the number of college-aged Asian Americans. P.r. Lockhart, Vox, "The lawsuit against Harvard that could change affirmative action in college admissions, explained," 18 Oct. 2018 But even despite our society's evolving views on beauty, the depiction of the French-girl archetype has remained shockingly stagnant. Leah Prinzivalli, Glamour, "10 Women Who Defy the 'French-Girl Beauty' Trope," 14 July 2018 The price of housing has been skyrocketing at a dizzying rate in Miami while salaries remain stagnant. miamiherald, "Leigh-Ann Buchanan," 30 June 2018 As the economy has soared, real wages have remained stagnant, with 64 million people working for less than $15 an hour. Matt Stieb, Daily Intelligencer, "The Return of the Poor People’s Campaign," 19 June 2018 To be sure, some of those numbers might seem counterintuitive to plenty of folks, as U.S. household incomes have remained stagnant relative to inflation for at least a couple of decades. Steve Jagler, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Jagler: Employers need to be proactive to recruit and retain top talent in full labor market," 8 June 2018 Meanwhile, salaries have remained stagnant for years, The last straw came last month when Mulki proposed a 5% increase in the corporate tax. Nabih Bulos,, "With protests rocking Jordan, king accepts resignation of prime minister, names reformer as successor," 4 June 2018 But the report also contained a now-familiar disappointment: wages remain stagnant. David Dayen, The New Republic, "How America Broke Its Economy," 8 May 2018 Commode research has been mostly stagnant for the last quarter of a century. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Using Physics To Build a Quieter Airplane Toilet," 5 Apr. 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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Learn More about stagnant

Statistics for stagnant

Last Updated

23 May 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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for stagnant

Spanish Central: Translation of stagnant

Nglish: Translation of stagnant for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of stagnant for Arabic Speakers

Comments on stagnant

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