not flowing or running, as water, air, etc.
stale or foul from standing, as a pool of water.
characterized by lack of development, advancement, or progressive movement: a stagnant economy.
inactive, sluggish, or dull.

Origin of stagnant

1660–70; < Latin stāgnant- (stem of stāgnāns), present participle of stāgnāre to stagnate; see -ant
Related formsstag·nan·cy, stag·nance, nounstag·nant·ly, adverbun·stag·nant, adjectiveun·stag·nant·ly, adverb

Synonyms for stagnant Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for stagnant

Contemporary Examples of stagnant

Historical Examples of stagnant

  • Action will never be stagnant while there are such things as gold and power.

  • Her conversion was an event that broke the lethargy of their stagnant life.

    Leila, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

  • Without him life would be stagnant, energy and virtue purposeless.

    Mountain Meditations

    L. Lind-af-Hageby

  • It was like opening a door out of a beautiful garden into a stagnant ditch.

  • "It must have been the wind in the trees," he thought; but there could be no wind in the stagnant dampness of that air.

    The Manxman

    Hall Caine

British Dictionary definitions for stagnant



(of water, etc) standing still; without flow or current
brackish and foul from standing still
stale, sluggish, or dull from inaction
not growing or developing; static
Derived Formsstagnancy or stagnance, nounstagnantly, adverb

Word Origin for stagnant

C17: from Latin stagnāns, from stagnāre to be stagnant, from stagnum a pool
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 stagnant

1660s, from French stagnant (early 17c.), from Latin stagnantem (nominative stagnans), present participle of stagnare "to stagnate" (see stagnate).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper