Definitions

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

  • noun Physics The tendency of a body at rest to remain at rest or of a body in straight line motion to stay in motion in a straight line unless acted on by an outside force; the resistance of a body to changes in momentum.
  • noun Resistance or disinclination to motion, action, or change.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Lack of activity; sluggishness; passiveness; inertness.
  • noun In physics, that property of matter by virtue of which it retains its state of rest or of uniform rectilinear motion so long as no foreign cause changes that state. Also called vis inertiæ (force of inertia).
  • noun In medicine, want of activity; sluggishness: a term especially applied to the condition of the uterus when it does not contract properly in parturition.
  • noun With regard to a plane or point, the sum of the elements of mass each multiplied by the square of its distance from the given plane or point.

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

  • noun (Physics) That property of matter by which it tends when at rest to remain so, and when in motion to continue in motion, and in the same straight line or direction, unless acted on by some external force; -- sometimes called vis inertiæ. The inertia of a body is proportional to its mass.
  • noun Inertness; indisposition to motion, exertion, or action; lack of energy; sluggishness.
  • noun (Med.) Lack of activity; sluggishness; -- said especially of the uterus, when, in labor, its contractions have nearly or wholly ceased.
  • noun (Mech.) See under Center.

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

  • noun physics The property of a body that resists any change to its uniform motion; equivalent to its mass.
  • noun figuratively In a person, unwillingness to take action.

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

  • noun (physics) the tendency of a body to maintain its state of rest or uniform motion unless acted upon by an external force
  • noun a disposition to remain inactive or inert

Etymologies

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

[Latin, idleness, from iners, inert-, inert; see inert.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin inertia ("lack of art or skill, inactivity, indolence"), from iners ("unskilled, inactive"), from in- ("without, not") + ars ("skill, art").

Examples

  • Posted September 21, 2004 2: 02 PM beingtrue writes: the inertia is the main reason for the failure of ideas. any reform will make someone lose temperarily.

    Ideas and Growth, Arnold Kling | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

  • Instead, he had to give some ground, admit that he's not going to meet this August deadline he's been demanding to combat what he calls inertia back in Washington.

    CNN Transcript Jul 23, 2009

  • Chubin uses the word "inertia" to describe the steady progress of Iran's nuclear program.

    NPR Topics: News

  • But now it appears we have a return of the "old" Jerry Angelo -- the man who defines the word inertia.

    News - chicagotribune.com

  • What I found depressing about the fan-shop was that it represented a cultural reinforcement ( "inertia" is too passive a term) of bad game cliches.

    Scattershot On My Way Out

  • Moreover, if birth rates were the whole story, then evangelical growth should have been visible between successive birth cohorts, not within them, but that is also not the case.37 Finally, the long-term inertia of demographic arithmetic should have continued to push up the evangelical share of the population for at least several decades more, even after the evangelical birth rate converged to the nonevangelical birth rate.

    American Grace

  • Ego, in this context, is defined as inertia -- an anti-evolutionary posture of narcissism and self-concern that is based upon the conviction, conscious or unconscious, that something fundamental is terribly, terribly wrong.

    Andrew Z. Cohen: The Path Of Evolutionary Enlightenment: From Minus One To Zero To Plus One

  • Ego, in this context, is defined as inertia -- an anti-evolutionary posture of narcissism and self-concern that is based upon the conviction, conscious or unconscious, that something fundamental is terribly, terribly wrong.

    Andrew Z. Cohen: The Path Of Evolutionary Enlightenment: From Minus One To Zero To Plus One

  • I feel very strongly that RTD could still pull a pony out of his sack for the Rose/Ten fans ... but inertia is already dragging that show down.

    Excruciating...Dollhouse Spoilers

  • There is a certain inertia to poulation growth — mathematically described by Nathan Keyfitz — that means we cannot escape the short and intermediate term consequences of our demographic destinies even if vital rates were to improbably shift rapidly and in ways to offset current trends.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Comparative Demographic Charts on Aging Populations

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