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

  • adj. Characterized by or requiring much sitting: a sedentary job.
  • adj. Accustomed to sitting or to taking little exercise.
  • adj. Remaining or living in one area, as certain birds; not migratory.
  • adj. Attached to a surface and not moving freely, as a barnacle.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Not moving; relatively still; staying in the vicinity.
  • adj. Not moving much; sitting around.
  • adj. inactive; motionless; sluggish; tranquil
  • adj. Caused by long sitting.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Accustomed to sit much or long.
  • adj. Characterized by, or requiring, much sitting.
  • adj. Inactive; motionless; sluggish; hence, calm; tranquil.
  • adj. Caused by long sitting.
  • adj. Remaining in one place, especially when firmly attached to some object.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Sitting; being or continuing in a sitting posture; working habitually in a sitting posture.
  • Hence— Fixed; settled; permanent; remaining in the same place.
  • Inactive; idle; sluggish: as, a sedentary life.
  • In zoology
  • Abiding in one place: not migratory, as a bird.
  • . Fixed in a tube; not errant, as a worm; belonging to the Sedentaria.
  • Spinning a web and lying in wait, as a spider; belonging to the Sedentariæ.
  • Affixed; attached; not free-swimming, as an infusorian, a rotifer, polyp, cirriped, mollusk, ascidian, etc.; specifically, belonging to the Sedentaria.
  • Encysted and motionless or quiescent, as a protozoan. Compare resting-spore.
  • Accustomed to sit much, or to pass most of the time in a sitting posture; hence, secluded.
  • Characterized by or requiring continuance in a sitting posture: as, a sedentary profession; the sedentary life of a scholar.
  • Resulting from inactivity or much sitting.
  • n. A sedentary person; one of sedentary habits.
  • n. A member of the Sedentariæ; a sedentary spider.
  • In geology, remaining upon the rock from which it has been formed by disintegration: said of soil or loose rock material.
  • In intern. law, said of the private property of a neutral which has remained on belligerent soil or of a neutral vessel in foreign waters. See the extract.

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

  • adj. requiring sitting or little activity


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

French sédentaire, from Old French, from Latin sedentārius, from sedēns, sedent-, present participle of sedēre, to sit; see sed- in Indo-European roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin sedentārius ("sitting"), from sedeō ("I sit, I am seated").


  • In general it appears that a man or a woman whose occupation is what we call sedentary, who is without vigorous exercise and does but little hard muscular work, needs much less than the man at hard manual labor, and that the brain worker needs comparatively little of carbohydrates or fats.

    Public School Domestic Science

  • Charlene Burgeson, executive director of the National Association for Sport & Physical Education, a group of physical education and sports professionals, says, This study reinforces the importance of all youth being physically active, spending minimal time in sedentary activities such as TV watching, and maintaining a healthy weight.

    One-third of U.S. kids are out of shape, study finds

  • In the United States, a study involving 43,757 male health professionals some of whom were described as sedentary or overweight, or were smokers, or both found that those consuming more than 25 grams of fiber per day had a 36 percent lower risk of developing heart disease than those who consumed less than 15 grams daily.

    The Fiber35 Diet

  • And as long as we remain sedentary and warm, they’ll stay.

    Why Cats Love Writers

  • Zú‘l-Ka’adah, the sedentary, is the rest time of the year, when fighting is forbidden and Zu’l-Hijjah explains itself as the pilgrimage-month.

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • "Conan," he thought he heard a voice, though as he heard his name the sedentary mist came to life, swirling around the trees and statues and over his bare chest, sending a chill down his spine.

    Archive 2009-12-01

  • It migrates over lage distances for a so- called sedentary species, needs riparian areas and insects for its chicks, and above all needs SAGE, a major part of its diet.

    Bad news for the Sage Grouse

  • Both cutties and churchwardens were smoked, but the latter of course were not adapted for persons engaged in active pursuits and were essentially of what I may call a sedentary nature.

    The Social History of Smoking

  • "Well," said Daniel, "I have a very distinct suspicion that when, thirteen years hence, I fall into your hands I shall not enjoy what might be called a sedentary life."

    The Holy Cross and Other Tales

  • That No. 53 on the sedentary aka "least active" list is the equivalent of a C- letter grade, Men's Health says. Front Page


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • WORD: sedentary

    EXAMPLE from Charlotte's Web:

    CHARLOTTE: "Not many creatures can spin webs. Even men aren't as good at it as spiders, although they think they're pretty good, and they'll try anything. Did you ever hear of the Queensborough Bridge?"

    Wilbur shook his head. "Is it a web?"

    "Sort of," replied Charlotte. "But do you know how long it took men to build it? Eight whole years. My goodness, I would have starved to death waiting that long. I can make a web in a single evening."

    "What do people catch in the Queensborough Bridge -- bugs?" asked Wilbur.

    "No," said Charlotte. "They don't catch anything. They just keep trotting back and forth across the bridge thinking there is something better on the other side. If they'd hang head-down at the top of the thing and wait quietly, maybe something good would come along. But no -- with men it's rush, rush, rush, every minute. I'm glad I'm a sedentary spider."

    "What does sedentary mean?" asked Wilbur.

    "Means I sit still a good part of the time and don't go wandering all over creation. I know a good thing when I see it, and my web is a good thing. I stay put and wait for what comes. Gives me a chance to think."

    "Well, I'm sort of sedentary myself, I guess," said the pig. "I have to hang around here whether I want to or not . . ."

    -- 1952 E.B. WHITE. Charlotte's Web. Chapter XI -- Wilbur's Boast (pages 60 - 61).

    September 27, 2013

  • The word itself has trouble getting up off the couch.

    April 20, 2011