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[ih-neyn] /ɪˈneɪn/
lacking sense, significance, or ideas; silly:
inane questions.
empty; void.
something that is empty or void, especially the void of infinite space.
Origin of inane
First recorded in 1655-65, inane is from the Latin word inānis
Related forms
inanely, adverb
1. pointless. See foolish. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for inanely
Historical Examples
  • inanely I would pound my head as though to put punch into it.

    The Harbor Ernest Poole
  • Eddie mumbled, inanely, "You didn't mind it this mornin', buggy-ridin'."

    In a Little Town Rupert Hughes
  • If it was from any other family he tuck it so inanely, I wouldn't care so much; but from them!

    The Dead Boxer William Carleton
  • “My widow, if you are going to be so darned particular about it,” he shouted, inanely.

    What's-His-Name George Barr McCutcheon
  • He thought at that moment, inanely, he should play more handball.

  • Old Horace was inanely eloquent for an hour over his pet theory.

    The Sport of the Gods Paul Laurence Dunbar
  • Above his motionless figure the little cord and tassel on the stiff point of the hood swung about inanely in the gale.

    The Mirror of the Sea Joseph Conrad
  • All the evening we sat, almost in silence, inanely smirking at each other and listening to the rain.

  • Tediously and inanely he meandered along, and no one knew what he was talking about.

  • It is easy, too easy, to grow incensed with him when he inanely doubts any convention or opinion that comes in sight.

British Dictionary definitions for inanely


senseless, unimaginative, or empty; unintelligent: inane remarks
Derived Forms
inanely, adverb
Word Origin
C17: from Latin inānis empty
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for inanely



"silly, empty-headed," 1819, earlier "empty" (1660s), a back-formation from inanity. Related: Inanely.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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