[ in-urt, ih-nurt ]
/ ɪnˈɜrt, ɪˈnɜrt /


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.

Nearby words

  1. inerrancy,
  2. inerrant,
  3. inerrantism,
  4. inerrantly,
  5. inerratic,
  6. inert gas,
  7. inertance,
  8. inertia,
  9. inertia force,
  10. inertia selling

Origin of inert

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

Related forms Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for inertness

British Dictionary definitions for inertness


/ (ɪnˈɜːt) /


having no inherent ability to move or to resist motion
inactive, lazy, or sluggish
having only a limited ability to react chemically; unreactive
Derived Formsinertly, adverbinertness, noun

Word Origin for inert

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

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 inertness
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for inertness


[ ĭn-ûrt ]


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.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for inertness


[ ĭn-ûrt ]

Not chemically reactive.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.