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  1. not animate; lifeless.
  2. spiritless; sluggish; dull.
  3. Linguistics. belonging to a syntactic category or having a semantic feature that is characteristic of words denoting objects, concepts, and beings regarded as lacking perception and volition (opposed to animate).

Origin of inanimate

From the Late Latin word inanimātus, dating back to 1555–65. See in-3, animate
Related formsin·an·i·mate·ly, adverbin·an·i·mate·ness, in·an·i·ma·tion [in-an-uh-mey-shuh n] /ɪnˌæn əˈmeɪ ʃən/, noun


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1. inorganic, vegetable, mineral; inert, dead. 2. inactive, dormant, torpid.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for inanimate


  1. lacking the qualities or features of living beings; not animateinanimate objects
  2. lacking any sign of life or consciousness; appearing dead
  3. lacking vitality; spiritless; dull
Derived Formsinanimately, adverbinanimateness or inanimation (ɪnˌænɪˈmeɪʃən), noun
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

Word Origin and History for inanimate


early 15c., from Late Latin inanimatus "lifeless," from in- "not" (see in- (1)) + animatus (see animation). The same word in 17c. also was a verb meaning "to infuse with life," from the other in- (see in- (2)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

inanimate in Medicine


  1. Not having the qualities associated with active, living organisms; not animate.
Related formsin•ani•mate•ness n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.