9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[in-ak-tiv] /ɪnˈæk tɪv/
not active:
an inactive volcano.
sedentary or passive:
an inactive life.
sluggish; indolent.
Military. not on active duty.
  1. inert; unreactive.
  2. noting a compound that has no effect on polarized light.
Origin of inactive
1715-25; in-3 + active
Related forms
inactively, adverb
inactivity, inactiveness, noun
1. unmoving, immobile, inoperative. 1, 2. Inactive, dormant, inert, sluggish, torpid suggest lack of activity. Inactive indicates absence of action, indisposition to activity, or cessation of activity: an inactive compound, life, file of papers. Dormant suggests the quiescence or inactivity of that which sleeps but may be roused to action: a dormant volcano. Inert suggests the condition of dead matter, with no inherent power of motion or action; it may also mean unable to move, or heavy and hard to move: an inert mass; inert from hunger. Sluggish expresses slowness of natural activity or of that which does not move readily or vigorously: a sluggish stream, brain. Torpid suggests a state of suspended physical powers, a condition particularly of animals that hibernate: Snakes are torpid in cold weather. 3. lazy, idle, slothful.
1–3. lively. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for inactivity
  • Flabbiness caused by physical inactivity rather than caloric excess.
  • It also shuts itself down after one hour of inactivity.
  • Even that would fade in the end into a contented inactivity.
  • Physical inactivity is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke and is linked to cardiovascular mortality.
  • Get that operation if that's what it takes to keep you out of the vicious cycle of inactivity.
  • But nurse bees switch between activity and inactivity all day long.
  • People who are bedridden for months at a time may develop brittle bones and become weak as their muscles wither with inactivity.
  • People who are bedridden become vulnerable to bone breaks and fractures because bones weaken with inactivity.
  • His physical health, due to inactivity was not much better.
  • And they are caused by the same problems: unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, and cigarette smoke.
British Dictionary definitions for inactivity


idle or inert; not active
sluggish, passive, or indolent
(military) of or relating to persons or equipment not in active service
(chem) (of a substance) having little or no reactivity
(of an element, isotope, etc) having little or no radioactivity
Derived Forms
inactively, adverb
inactivity, inactiveness, noun
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
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Word Origin and History for inactivity

1640s, from in- (1) "not, opposite of" + activity. Phrase masterly inactivity attested by 1791.



1725, from in- (1) "not, opposite of" + active.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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