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[sed-n-ter-ee] /ˈsɛd nˌtɛr i/
characterized by or requiring a sitting posture:
a sedentary occupation.
accustomed to sit or rest a great deal or to take little exercise.
Chiefly Zoology.
  1. abiding in one place; not migratory.
  2. pertaining to animals that move about little or are permanently attached to something, as a barnacle.
Origin of sedentary
1590-1600; < Latin sedentārius sitting, equivalent to sedent- (stem of sedēns, present participle of sedēre to sit1; see -ent) + -ārius -ary
Related forms
[sed-n-tair-uh-lee, sed-n-ter-] /ˌsɛd nˈtɛər ə li, ˈsɛd nˌtɛr-/ (Show IPA),
sedentariness, noun
nonsedentarily, adverb
nonsedentariness, noun
nonsedentary, adjective
presedentary, adjective
unsedentary, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for sedentary
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Tailors, though in a sedentary occupation, often suffer from it.

    Psychotherapy James J. Walsh
  • The same applies to people who lead studious and sedentary lives.

    Evolution, Old & New Samuel Butler
  • He had hoped for something in his son more bookish and sedentary, more like his gentle, studious self.

    Prester John John Buchan
  • But you are not to suppose that your life will be such a sedentary one.

  • Like all men of sedentary habits, and statesmen, he had acquired a certainly reasonable embonpoint.

British Dictionary definitions for sedentary


/ˈsɛdəntərɪ; -trɪ/
characterized by or requiring a sitting position: sedentary work
tending to sit about without taking much exercise
(of animals) moving about very little, usually because of attachment to a rock or other surface
(of animals) not migratory
Derived Forms
sedentarily, adverb
sedentariness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin sedentārius, from sedēre to sit
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 sedentary

1590s, "remaining in one place," from Middle French sédentaire (16c.) and directly from Latin sedentarius "sitting, remaining in one place," from sedentem (nominative sedens), present participle of sedere "to sit; occupy an official seat, preside; sit still, remain; be fixed or settled," from PIE root *sed- (1) "to sit" (cf. Sanskrit a-sadat "sat down," sidati "sits;" Old Persian hadis "abode;" Greek ezesthai "to sit," hedra "seat, chair, face of a geometric solid;" Old Irish suide "seat, sitting;" Welsh sedd "seat," eistedd "sitting;" Old Church Slavonic sežda, sedeti "to sit;" Lithuanian sedmi "to sit;" Russian sad "garden," Lithuanian soditi "to plant;" Gothic sitan, Old English sittan "to sit;" see sit). Of persons, the sense "not in the habit of exercise" is recorded from 1660s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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