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 When Mr Clinton took on George H.W. Bush in 1992, real wages were stagnant. The Economist, "Does the economy affect elections any more?," 28 Nov. 2019 The company's same store sales were stagnant in the third quarter, rising just 0.4%. Paul R. La Monica, CNN, "Cheesecake Factory looks to hungry holiday shoppers to boost earnings," 26 Nov. 2019 After dropping or staying stagnant for years, enrollment numbers for CCPS look to be on the rise. Catalina Righter,, "Carroll school board talks possible new positions in school security, health," 18 Nov. 2019 One game after asking the assistants to chart the number of total passes, holding an ugly-but-necessary film breakdown, the offense was stagnant, the ball stuck and bodies were too often stationary. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "Cleveland Cavaliers deliver worst performance of season in 114-95 loss to Philadelphia 76ers: Chris Fedor’s instant analysis," 17 Nov. 2019 Some Democratic lawmakers suggested instead of a small rebate, the money could be used for a raise for state workers whose salaries have been stagnant for most of this decade. Washington Post, "Rebate checks are in the mail; SC taxpayers get $50 each," 8 Nov. 2019 My second year coming in, their expectations of me stayed (stagnant). Kyle Newman, The Denver Post, "Second-year defensive backs Davontae Harris and Duke Dawson emerging as critical components in Broncos’ secondary," 24 Oct. 2019 City’s catch-22 Hiring for mental health professionals is a major issue in San Francisco, where the cost of living is soaring but salaries for mental health care workers are stagnant. Dominic Fracassa,, "'We need to make some serious changes:' Breed unveils $200M plan to fix mental illness crisis," 15 Oct. 2019 How — while corporate profits are basking in the glow of an 85-year high, hourly wages have been stagnant for 45 years. Cory Booker, Time, "Cory Booker: A Waitress I Knew Made $2.13 an Hour. I Wish She Lived to Get a Fair Shake in This Economy," 2 Sep. 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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Time Traveler for stagnant

Time Traveler

The first known use of stagnant was in 1610

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Statistics for stagnant

Last Updated

5 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Stagnant.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 15 December 2019.

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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

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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).


delight or enjoyment

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