Definition of inert in English:


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  • 1Lacking the ability or strength to move.

    ‘she lay inert in her bed’
    • ‘‘We're looking for people who in 15 minutes can make an inert audience move,’ explains Jonny Rocket, who, with his wife Lisa, has organised the free event.’
    • ‘Two hours later, we watched through glass as her inert body was wheeled into the intensive care recovery.’
    • ‘Another man strode by with the inert body of a young child in his arms.’
    • ‘He glanced over his shoulder, then spun completely around to stare at the inert body crumpled on the asphalt a few feet behind him.’
    • ‘It's long been suggested that Britain is a country of inert fools who do nothing more than sit in front of the TV.’
    unmoving, motionless, immobile, still, stock-still, stationary, static, dormant, sleeping
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    1. 1.1Lacking vigor.
      ‘an inert political system’
      • ‘Our political parties are inert.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, the intention is to turn whole command and control agencies into passive, inert organisms.’
      • ‘So is it just an unwillingness on the part of an inert legal community in this country that the jury system has not been adequately researched?’
      • ‘Yet post-modern politics is remarkably inert in the face of the challenge of constructing a new kind of state.’
      • ‘After all, the image of politically inert women reinforces cherished myths about motherhood.’
      lethargic, enervated, lackadaisical, spiritless, unenergetic, lifeless, vigourless, lacking energy, limp, effete
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    2. 1.2Chemically inactive.
      ‘Fluorine is so reactive that it forms compounds with the noble gases, which were thought to be chemically inert.’
      • ‘Airborne CFCs, which were relatively inert near Earth's surface, were being decomposed by sunlight in the upper atmosphere, releasing free chlorine atoms.’
      • ‘Neon is the second element in Group 18 of the periodic table, a group of elements known as the inert or noble gases.’
      • ‘If some of the components of this system chemically react with each other then the inert substance dispersing the reactants is the inert solvent.’
      • ‘But a fine grain of plutonium - a chemically inert metal - never dissolves.’
      • ‘Normally it is said that gold has no biochemical purpose, because it is chemically inert.’
      • ‘Gases that reach the stratosphere can remain there for many years, particularly if they are chemically inert.’
      • ‘Since argon is chemically inert, there is no tissue carbonization.’
      • ‘By surrounding hot metals with inert argon, the metals are protected from potential oxidation by oxygen in the air.’
      • ‘Mars's atmosphere is completely inert, no chemical reactions could go on there.’
      • ‘Because it is chemically inert, helium was not identified on Earth until some time later, in 1895.’
      • ‘In fact, a large proportion of carcinogens is chemically inert and requires metabolic activation to exert their detrimental effects.’
      • ‘Intramolecular forces in the chlorobenzene backbone of the polymer create a strong film that is chemically inert to acid, base, and ketone exposure.’
      • ‘The nitrogen we breathe is chemically inert and takes no part in the chemical or metabolic reactions in the body.’
      • ‘Bromine even reacts with relatively inert elements such as platinum and palladium.’
      • ‘Precious metals are elements that are rare in the Earth's crust, are attractive to look at, and are chemically quite inert.’
      • ‘Niobium is a relatively inert element, although it does react with oxygen and concentrated acids at high temperatures.’
      • ‘Like other elements in Group 18, krypton is chemically inert.’
      • ‘Furthermore, the rapid expansion of cold gases forced hot, oxygenated air from the waste pile and replaced it with chemically inert nitrogen and carbon dioxide.’
      • ‘Both types of polymer contain strong C-F bonds and are thermally stable, chemically inert and ‘non-stick’, because of the low affinity of fluorine for other materials.’
      chemically inactive
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/iˈnərt/ /ɪˈnərt/


Mid 17th century from Latin iners, inert- ‘unskilled, inactive’, from in- (expressing negation) + ars, art- ‘skill, art’.