Definitions

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

  • adj. Not having the qualities associated with active, living organisms. See Synonyms at dead.
  • adj. Not animated or energetic; dull.
  • adj. Grammar Belonging to the class of nouns that stand for nonliving things: The word car is inanimate; the word dog is animate.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Lacking the quality or ability of motion; as an inanimate object.
  • adj. Not being, and never having been alive.
  • adj. Not animate.
  • n. Something that is not alive.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Not animate; destitute of life or spirit; lifeless; dead; inactive; dull.
  • transitive v. To animate.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To infuse life or vigor into; animate; quicken.
  • Not animate; having lost life or vital force: as, the inanimate body of a man.
  • Not animated; without vivacity or briskness; spiritless; inactive; sluggish; dull: as, inanimate movements; inanimate conversation.
  • Synonyms Dead, lifeless, inert, soulless, spiritless.
  • In grammar, denoting inanimate things: applied to a phase of ‘gender’ distinction.

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

  • adj. belonging to the class of nouns denoting nonliving things
  • adj. not endowed with life
  • adj. appearing dead; not breathing or having no perceptible pulse

Etymologies

in- +‎ animate (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Take the terms inanimate, man, white: then take some white things of which man is not predicated-swan and snow: the term inanimate is predicated of all of the one, of none of the other.

    PRIOR ANALYTICS

  • He was somewhat of the same temperament as Emmeline -- a dreamer, with a mind tuned to receive and record the fine rays that fill this world flowing from intellect to intellect, and even from what we call inanimate things.

    The Blue Lagoon: a romance

  • Thus, at the lowest end of the scale, we have what we call inanimate matter, which Aristotle thinks of much as we do, namely, as something occupying space, the different parts of it being endowed with different powers of movement, and with different properties, such as warmth or coldness, wetness or dryness.

    Progress and History

  • It is matter set free; one might say that this eternal slave is wreaking its vengeance; it would seem as though the evil in what we call inanimate objects had found vent and suddenly burst forth; it has the air of having lost its patience, and of taking a mysterious, dull revenge; nothing is so inexorable as the rage of the inanimate.

    Great Sea Stories

  • "Why do you say 'what we call inanimate matter'?" inquired Paul.

    Paul Patoff

  • [19] Beasts, plants, and what we call inanimate objects, also are held, in early stages of civilization, to have souls -- a natural inference from the belief that these last are alive and that all things have a nature like that of man.

    Introduction to the History of Religions Handbooks on the History of Religions, Volume IV

  • Whether the supernatural Powers are conceived of as animals or as plants or as what we call inanimate things, or, in more advanced thought, as ghosts or spirits or gods, they are held to be factors in human life, are regarded with awe, are dreaded and avoided, or are welcomed as helpers, and in any case are propitiated by gifts and other marks of respect.

    Introduction to the History of Religions Handbooks on the History of Religions, Volume IV

  • If even in what we call inanimate things there lies a healing power in various kinds; if, as is not absurd, there may lie in the world absolute cure existing in analysis, that is parted into a thousand kinds and forms, who can tell what cure may lie in a perfect body, informed, yea, caused, by a perfect spirit?

    Miracles of Our Lord

  • It was as if the relation between me and my fellow-men was more and more deadened, and my relation to what we call the inanimate was quickened into new life.

    The Lifted Veil

  • Preposterous Apostrophes VIII: Inanities in inanimate possession

    Preposterous Apostrophes VIII: Inanities in inanimate possession « Motivated Grammar

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