[ in-awr-gan-ik ]
/ ˌɪn ɔrˈgæn ɪk /


not having the structure or organization characteristic of living bodies.
not characterized by vital processes.
Chemistry. noting or pertaining to compounds that are not hydrocarbons or their derivatives.Compare organic(def 1).
not fundamental or related; extraneous.

Nearby words

  1. inoperative,
  2. inoperculate,
  3. inopportune,
  4. inordinate,
  5. inorg.,
  6. inorganic acid,
  7. inorganic chemistry,
  8. inorganic compound,
  9. inorganic molecules,
  10. inorganic murmur

Origin of inorganic

First recorded in 1785–95; in-3 + organic

Related formsin·or·gan·i·cal·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for inorganic

British Dictionary definitions for inorganic


/ (ˌɪnɔːˈɡænɪk) /


not having the structure or characteristics of living organisms; not organic
relating to or denoting chemical compounds that do not contain carbonCompare organic (def. 4)
not having a system, structure, or ordered relation of parts; amorphous
not resulting from or produced by growth; artificial
linguistics denoting or relating to a sound or letter introduced into the pronunciation or spelling of a word at some point in its history
Derived Formsinorganically, adverb

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 inorganic



1794, "without organized organic structure," from in- (1) "not, opposite of" + organic. Sense of "not arriving by natural growth" recorded from 1862.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for inorganic


[ ĭn′ôr-gănĭk ]


Not formed by or involving organic life or the products of organic life.
Not composed of organic matter.
Of or relating to compounds not containing carbon to hydrogen bonds.
Related formsin′or•gani•cal•ly adv.

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

Science definitions for inorganic


[ ĭn′ôr-gănĭk ]

Not involving organisms or the products of their life processes.
Relating to chemical compounds that occur mainly outside of living or once living organisms, such as those in rocks, minerals, and ceramics. Most inorganic compounds lack carbon, such as salt (NaCl) and ammonia (NH3); a few, such as carbon dioxide (CO2), do contain it, but never attached to hydrogen atoms as in hydrocarbons. Inorganic molecules tend to have a relatively small number of atoms as compared with organic molecules.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.