[in-urt, ih-nurt]
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.

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

inertly, adverb
inertness, noun
noninert, adjective
noninertly, adverb
noninertness, noun
uninert, adjective
uninertly, adverb

1. immobile, unmoving, lifeless, motionless. 4. See inactive. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
inert (ɪnˈɜːt)
1.  having no inherent ability to move or to resist motion
2.  inactive, lazy, or sluggish
3.  having only a limited ability to react chemically; unreactive
[C17: from Latin iners unskilled, from in-1 + ars skill; see art1]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1647, from Fr. inerte (16c.), from L. inertem (nom. iners) "unskilled, inactive," from in- "without" + ars (gen. artis) "skill" (see art (n.)).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

inert in·ert (ĭn-ûrt')

  1. Sluggish in action or motion; lethargic.

  2. Not readily reactive with other chemical elements; forming few or no chemical compounds.

  3. 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.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
inert   (ĭn-ûrt')  Pronunciation Key 
Not chemically reactive.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
Revelation lifted its head but otherwise remained as inert as a lump of clay.
The atmosphere in the box is dry nitrogen, which is relatively inert.
He evinces a blind spot for painting, with inert geometric canvases, but never
  a failure of nerve.
Sasha never took anything from stores-their cold, inert goods didn't tempt her.
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