from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Not active or tending to be active.
  • adjective Not functioning or operating; out of use.
  • adjective Not being in continuous use or operation.
  • adjective Retired from duty or service.
  • adjective Chemistry Not readily participating in chemical reactions; inert.
  • adjective Medicine Marked by the absence or lessening of disease activity.
  • adjective Physics Showing no optical activity in polarized light.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • In chem., causing no rotation in the plane of polarized light.
  • Not active or acting.
  • Marked by inaction or sluggishness; destitute of activity: as, an inactive existence; the inactive stage of insect life (that is, the period of metamorphosis, generally passed in concealment). Synonyms Inert, Lazy, etc. (see idle), passive, supine.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Not active; having no power to move; that does not or can not produce results; inert.
  • adjective Not disposed to action or effort; not diligent or industrious; not busy; idle.
  • adjective (Chem. & Opt.) Not exhibiting any action or activity on polarized light; optically inactive; optically neutral; -- said of isomeric forms of certain substances, in distinction from other forms which are optically active.
  • adjective (Chem. & Biochem.) Lacking biological or biochemical activity; not causing a specific biological or biochemical effect; -- said of substances such as enzymes which have lost their catalytic power, or of small molecules which are tested for some type of biological activity and found to lack that activity.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Not active, temporarily or permanently
  • adjective Not functioning or operating; broken down
  • adjective Retired from duty or service
  • adjective chemistry Relatively inert
  • adjective physics Showing no optical activity in polarized light

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

  • adjective (chemistry) not participating in a chemical reaction; chemically inert
  • adjective (military) not involved in military operations
  • adjective lacking in energy or will
  • adjective (pathology) not progressing or increasing; or progressing slowly
  • adjective not exerting influence or change
  • adjective not engaged in full-time work
  • adjective not in physical motion
  • adjective (of e.g. volcanos) not erupting and not extinct
  • adjective lacking activity; lying idle or unused
  • adjective not active physically or mentally


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From in- +‎ active


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  • I may be misunderstanding the term inactive, of course. rdnelson 2009

  • As he could never endure what he calls the inactive chattering of the parlour -- people sitting in front of one another with folded hands and nothing in motion except the tongue -- he learnt the art of making laces; he used to carry his pillow about with him, or sat at his own door working like the women of the village, and chatting with the passers-by.

    Rousseau (Volume 1 and 2) John Morley 1880

  • Under state law, these people are classified as "inactive" voters

    Battle in Denver on Who Gets Ballots Stephanie Simon 2011

  • Also expected to be inactive is receiver Anthony Armstrong, who suffered a groin injury last week.

    Trent Williams inactive for Rams game Barry Svrluga 2010

  • The SF world does not remain inactive; many inventive and creative people try to find solutions and keep SF alive.

    MIND MELD: Guide to International SF/F (Part I ) 2009

  • One single thing would be unthinkable: to remain inactive, voiceless, in the face of this insane escalation.

    Bernard-Henri Lévy: Sakineh's Son Arrested: The Great Silence of Conformist Thinkers Bernard-Henri Lévy 2010

  • C/F Oleksiy Pecherov was again inactive for Washington. 2008

  • With Stephon Marbury again inactive, they went scoreless for more than 3 1/2 minutes to start the third quarter and never recovered. 2008

  • The Web is a dynamic environment, so I urge readers to search for the documents cited in inactive links; they may again become available.

    Manhood in the Age of Aquarius: Masculinity in Two Countercultural Communities, 1965–83 2007

  • Bank of America Corp., which received $45 billion through TARP and has the industry's largest U.S. card portfolio, said in its submission to the Treasury that credit-card loan balances and new account originations declined in February "due to continued reduction of exposure on long term inactive customers and line reductions on high risk accounts."

    TARP Cash Isn't Moving Forward 2009


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