- 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
- 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 non-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.