from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Lying asleep or as if asleep; inactive.
  • adj. Latent but capable of being activated: "a harrowing experience which . . . lay dormant but still menacing” ( Charles Jackson).
  • adj. Temporarily quiescent: a dormant volcano. See Synonyms at inactive, latent.
  • adj. In a condition of biological rest or inactivity characterized by cessation of growth or development and the suspension of many metabolic processes.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Inactive, asleep, suspended.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A large beam in the roof of a house upon which portions of the other timbers rest or “ sleep.”

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Sleeping; asleep.
  • In heraldry, lying down with its head on its fore paws, as if asleep: said of a beast used as a bearing.
  • Hibernating: said of certain animals.
  • In a state of rest or inactivity; quiescent; not in action, movement, force, or operation; being or kept in abeyance: as, a dormant rebellion; a dormant title; dormant privileges.
  • n. A beam; a sleeper: formerly also dormond, dormant-tree. Also dormer. Halliwell.
  • n. A dish which remains from the beginning to the end of a repast, such as cold pies, hams, and potted meats, placed down the middle of the table at a large entertainment; a centerpiece which is not removed.
  • In botany, not active or growing.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. lying with head on paws as if sleeping
  • adj. in a condition of biological rest or suspended animation
  • adj. (of e.g. volcanos) not erupting and not extinct
  • adj. inactive but capable of becoming active


Middle English, from Old French, from present participle of dormir, to sleep, from Latin dormīre.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English, from Old French, from Latin dormiēns, present participle of dormiō ("I sleep"). (Wiktionary)


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