[in-ak-shuh n]


absence of action; idleness.

Origin of inaction

First recorded in 1700–10; in-3 + action Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for inaction

Contemporary Examples of inaction

Historical Examples of inaction

  • Now every minute's inaction increased this spirit of restlessness.

    In the Valley

    Harold Frederic

  • A rush of impatience succeeded the inaction of his memories.

    Slaves of Mercury

    Nat Schachner

  • They were appalled by inaction and by the feel of something terrible impending.

    White Fang

    Jack London

  • After three months of inaction give light, warmth and moisture.

  • Cesare sat impotent in Rome, no doubt vexed by his own inaction.

British Dictionary definitions for inaction



lack of action; idleness; inertia
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 inaction

1707, from in- (1) "not, opposite of" + action.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper