- having no inherent power of action, motion, or resistance (opposed to active): inert matter.
- Chemistry. having little or no ability to react, as nitrogen that occurs uncombined in the atmosphere.
- Pharmacology. having no pharmacological action, as the excipient of a pill.
- inactive or sluggish by habit or nature.
Origin of inert
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for inert
Surrounded by inert goods, we felt hemmed in, pushed toward a lifestyle cul-de-sac.How Young People Are Destroying Liberty
October 11, 2014
Instead of upending the genre as Joe Millionaire did, the inert Harry mostly shows how much things have changed since then.You Really Don't Want to Watch Fox’s ‘I Wanna Marry “Harry”’
May 20, 2014
Is the market an inert force to be manipulated and exploited, to deprive it of hard-earned cash?5 Ways to Fix Book Publishing
July 12, 2013
(The choppy, inert 2000 TV movie with Toby Stephens, Mira Sorvino and Paul Rudd barely registered a blip).The Great Gatsby: Book Versus Movie
May 10, 2013
The oath of office is in effect a promise—cross my heart and hope to die—never to be inactive or inert.Don't Let Obama Fail
May 31, 2010
Johnny Rosenfeld still lay in his ward, inert from the waist down.K
Mary Roberts Rinehart
And when bending over that inert face I felt that there was no longer any breath!My Double Life
The chauffeur got down, shook his fare by the arm, and the arm was inert.A Nest of Spies
There he saw the inert figures of the girl, and Tom Franklin.The World Beyond
Raymond King Cummings
An atom of any kind is not the inert thing it has been supposed to be, for it can do something.The Machinery of the Universe
Amos Emerson Dolbear
- having no inherent ability to move or to resist motion
- inactive, lazy, or sluggish
- having only a limited ability to react chemically; unreactive
Word Origin and History for inert
1640s, from French inerte (16c.) or directly from Latin inertem (nominative iners) "unskilled, inactive, helpless, sluggish, worthless," from in- "without" + ars (genitive artis) "skill" (see art (n.)). Originally of matter; specifically of gases from 1885. Of persons or creatures, from 1774.
- Sluggish in action or motion; lethargic.
- Not readily reactive with other chemical elements; forming few or no chemical compounds.
- Having no pharmacologic or therapeutic action.
- Not chemically reactive.