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[in-awr-gan-ik] /ˌɪn ɔrˈgæn ɪk/
not having the structure or organization characteristic of living bodies.
not characterized by vital processes.
Chemistry. noting or pertaining to compounds that are not hydrocarbons or their derivatives.
Compare organic (def 1).
not fundamental or related; extraneous.
Origin of inorganic
1785-95; in-3 + organic
Related forms
inorganically, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for inorganic
  • Over many millions of years, organic and inorganic materials formed continental shelves.
  • The various contaminations to which water is liable may all be arranged under two heads: they are either organic or inorganic.
  • It really would be a surprise if organic semiconductors were to behave in exactly the same way as inorganic ones.
  • Integrated organic and inorganic fertilization is needed to increase the yield of crops.
  • Put into this fluid certain inorganic substances from which all traces of organic matter have been removed.
  • We known how to make organic chemicals from inorganic.
  • Organic matter behaves so differently from inorganic, though subject to the same physical laws.
  • Piano has arranged for the organic and inorganic to play off each other in clever ways.
  • The falling-apart of anything, organic or inorganic, encourages explosions of new growth.
  • In general, sunscreens contain organic formulas and sunblocks contain inorganic formulas.
British Dictionary definitions for inorganic


not having the structure or characteristics of living organisms; not organic
relating to or denoting chemical compounds that do not contain carbon Compare organic (sense 4)
not having a system, structure, or ordered relation of parts; amorphous
not resulting from or produced by growth; artificial
(linguistics) denoting or relating to a sound or letter introduced into the pronunciation or spelling of a word at some point in its history
Derived Forms
inorganically, adverb
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 inorganic

1794, "without organized organic structure," from in- (1) "not, opposite of" + organic. Sense of "not arriving by natural growth" recorded from 1862.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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inorganic in Medicine

inorganic in·or·gan·ic (ĭn'ôr-gān'ĭk)

  1. Not formed by or involving organic life or the products of organic life.

  2. Not composed of organic matter.

  3. Of or relating to compounds not containing carbon to hydrogen bonds

in'or·gan'i·cal·ly adv.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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inorganic in Science
  1. Not involving organisms or the products of their life processes.

  2. Relating to chemical compounds that occur mainly outside of living or once living organisms, such as those in rocks, minerals, and ceramics. Most inorganic compounds lack carbon, such as salt (NaCl) and ammonia (NH3); a few, such as carbon dioxide (CO2), do contain it, but never attached to hydrogen atoms as in hydrocarbons. Inorganic molecules tend to have a relatively small number of atoms as compared with organic molecules.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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