- lying asleep or as if asleep; inactive, as in sleep; torpid: The lecturer's sudden shout woke the dormant audience.
- in a state of rest or inactivity; inoperative; in abeyance: The project is dormant for the time being.
- Biology. in a state of minimal metabolic activity with cessation of growth, either as a reaction to adverse conditions or as part of an organism's normal annual rhythm.
- undisclosed; unasserted: dormant musical talent.
- (of a volcano) not erupting.
- Botany. temporarily inactive: dormant buds; dormant seeds.
- (of a pesticide) applied to a plant during a period of dormancy: a dormant spray.
- Heraldry. (of an animal) represented as lying with its head on its forepaws, as if asleep.
Origin of dormant
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for dormant
In addition to its million-and-a-half year dormant stretch, the fault line is nearly impossible to see from above.Cleaning Up From Napa's Winepocalypse
August 30, 2014
We reported on the efforts of Dr. Susan Harkema, who is working to “wake up” dormant spinal cord neurons.The Bionic Exoskeleton Helping Paraplegics Walk
Dr. Anand Veeravagu, MD
June 29, 2014
Is there an innate, yet dormant capacity within the elderly to actually reverse their ailments if only given the right signals?This Is the Way You’ll Live Forever
Dr. Anand Veeravagu, MD, Tej Azad
May 6, 2014
However, the company could simply file ‘dormant’ accounts that reveal nothing, according to a tax specialist quoted in The Times.Pippa Middleton Sets Up Her Own Business
May 31, 2013
The Tea Party caucus she helped found to much fanfare in 2011 is now dormant.Exclusive: Congressional Ethics Probe Adds to Michele Bachmann’s Political Woes
March 25, 2013
Yet she wondered if the instinct were not dormant, needing but the suggestion.Ester Ried Yet Speaking
Perhaps you reply that the soul is there, but in a dormant condition.The Captain of the Pole-Star and Other Tales
Arthur Conan Doyle
This letter suggests that the Kelly process had been dormant since 1858.The Beginnings of Cheap Steel
Philip W. Bishop
He meant to have no mercy on her until he had roused her dormant caution.The Prisoner
Pray give her some stimulant to arouse her dormant faculties, if only for a moment.The Masked Bridal
Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
- quiet and inactive, as during sleep
- latent or inoperative
- (of a volcano) neither extinct nor erupting
- biology alive but in a resting torpid condition with suspended growth and reduced metabolism
- (usually postpositive) heraldry (of a beast) in a sleeping position
Word Origin and History for dormant
late 14c., "fixed in place," from Old French dormant (12c.), present participle of dormir "to sleep," from Latin dormire "to sleep," from PIE root *drem- "to sleep" (cf. Old Church Slavonic dremati "to sleep, doze," Greek edrathon "I slept," Sanskrit drati "sleeps"). Meaning "in a resting situation" (in heraldry) is from c.1500. Meaning "sleeping' is from 1620s.
- Being in an inactive state during which growth and development cease and metabolism is slowed, usually in response to an adverse environment. In winter, some plants survive as dormant seeds or bulbs, and some animals enter the dormant state of hibernation.
- Not active but capable of renewed activity. Volcanoes that have erupted within historical times and are expected to erupt again are dormant.