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inertia

[in-ur-shuh, ih-nur-] /ɪnˈɜr ʃə, ɪˈnɜr-/
noun
1.
inertness, especially with regard to effort, motion, action, and the like; inactivity; sluggishness.
2.
Physics.
  1. the property of matter by which it retains its state of rest or its velocity along a straight line so long as it is not acted upon by an external force.
  2. an analogous property of a force:
    electric inertia.
3.
Medicine/Medical. lack of activity, especially as applied to a uterus during childbirth when its contractions have decreased or stopped.
Origin of inertia
1705-1715
1705-15; < Latin: lack of skill, slothfulness. See inert, -ia
Related forms
inertial, adjective
noninertial, adjective
Synonyms
1. torpor, inaction, laziness.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for inertia
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It was the last phase, the feebleness, the wanness, the inertia!

    The Blind Spot Austin Hall
  • The inertia of the meteor has persisted, not as energy, but as a factor of energy.

    The Machinery of the Universe Amos Emerson Dolbear
  • What inertia is to a material body inductance is to an electric current.

  • For that sort of inertia in woman is always enigmatic and therefore menacing.

    Chance Joseph Conrad
  • Bismarck himself was then struggling to begin a career against the inertia of the German system.

British Dictionary definitions for inertia

inertia

/ɪnˈɜːʃə; -ʃɪə/
noun
1.
the state of being inert; disinclination to move or act
2.
(physics)
  1. the tendency of a body to preserve its state of rest or uniform motion unless acted upon by an external force
  2. an analogous property of other physical quantities that resist change: thermal inertia
Derived Forms
inertial, adjective
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 inertia
n.

1713, introduced as a term in physics 17c. by German astronomer and physician Johann Kepler (1571-1630), from Latin inertia "unskillfulness, idleness," from iners (genitive inertis) "unskilled, inactive;" see inert. Used in Modern Latin by Newton (1687). Sense of "apathy" first recorded 1822.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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inertia in Medicine

inertia in·er·tia (ĭ-nûr'shə)
n.

  1. The tendency of a body to resist acceleration; the tendency of a body at rest to remain at rest or of a body in motion to stay in motion in a straight line unless acted on by an outside force.

  2. Resistance or disinclination to motion, action, or change.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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inertia in Science
inertia
  (ĭ-nûr'shə)   
The resistance of a body to changes in its momentum. Because of inertia, a body at rest remains at rest, and a body in motion continues moving in a straight line and at a constant speed, unless a force is applied to it. Mass can be considered a measure of a body's inertia. See more at Newton's laws of motion, See also mass.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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inertia in Culture
inertia [(i-nur-shuh)]

In physics, the tendency for objects at rest to remain at rest, and for objects in uniform motion to continue in motion in a straight line, unless acted on by an outside force. (See Newton's laws of motion.)

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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