[ in-urt, ih-nurt ]
See synonyms for: inertinertness on

  1. having no inherent power of action, motion, or resistance (opposed to active): inert matter.

  2. Chemistry. having little or no ability to react, as nitrogen that occurs uncombined in the atmosphere.

  1. Pharmacology. having no pharmacological action, as the excipient of a pill.

  2. inactive or sluggish by habit or nature.

Origin of inert

First recorded in 1640–50; from Latin inert- (stem of iners ) “unskillful,” equivalent to in- in-3 + -ert-, combining form of art- (stem of ars ) “skill”; see art1

synonym study For inert

4. See inactive.

Other words for inert

Other words from inert

  • in·ert·ly, adverb
  • in·ert·ness, noun
  • non·in·ert, adjective
  • non·in·ert·ly, adverb
  • non·in·ert·ness, noun
  • un·in·ert, adjective
  • un·in·ert·ly, adverb

Words Nearby inert Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use inert in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for inert


/ (ɪnˈɜːt) /

  1. having no inherent ability to move or to resist motion

  2. inactive, lazy, or sluggish

  1. having only a limited ability to react chemically; unreactive

Origin of inert

C17: from Latin iners unskilled, from in- 1 + ars skill; see art 1

Derived forms of inert

  • inertly, adverb
  • inertness, 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

Scientific definitions for inert


[ ĭn-ûrt ]

  1. Not chemically reactive.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.