Definition of inanimate in US English:



  • 1Not alive, especially not in the manner of animals and humans.

    ‘inanimate objects like stones’
    • ‘One important distinction within the natural world is found in the fact that some natural substances are alive and others inanimate.’
    • ‘The national poll to choose a flower for each county mirrors the US, where each state lays claims to a series of inanimate objects as their own.’
    • ‘And third, does not anthropomorphism require the transposition of human qualities onto an inanimate object?’
    • ‘I know it's not normal to shout and swear at the television - it is, after all, an inanimate object - but that is what I do.’
    • ‘But the single biggest cause of snowmobiling casualties are inanimate objects.’
    • ‘One of the other themes that run through your work is anthropomorphic or inanimate objects that come to life in some way.’
    • ‘The dolls are inanimate objects given life and the creation of more of them lets the artists give flesh to the worries of the audience.’
    • ‘Wind chill does not affect inanimate objects, nor does it affect people who are sheltered from the wind.’
    • ‘In fact I have heard that good chess masters now study computer games and learn new strategies from those inanimate models.’
    • ‘Even when we are a little the worse for wear through drink, our natural inclination to apologise to pets and inanimate objects comes to the fore.’
    • ‘The viruses associated with the cold and flu can survive on inanimate objects and skin for up to three hours.’
    • ‘First, it's a document, a mighty one, but still an inanimate object.’
    • ‘Hallucinatory content can include inanimate objects, people, animals, plants and bunches of flowers, trees, and complete scenes.’
    • ‘The word ‘article’ means something inanimate which is not and never has been alive.’
    • ‘All of God's creation, animate and inanimate, reflected God's generosity toward his creatures and evoked an outpouring of praise and thanks.’
    • ‘I still have occasional empathy with inanimate objects.’
    • ‘Those of you who have visited my photoblog may think that my passion in photography lies in capturing scenery, landscapes and inanimate objects.’
    • ‘When spirits inhabit inanimate objects, they cease being inanimate.’
    • ‘I personally think it's the people who pull the triggers that kill people, guns are just inanimate objects, machines that can only work with a person present.’
    • ‘There may also be inappropriate use of toys, obsessive spinning of objects or attachment to inanimate objects.’
    1. 1.1 Showing no sign of life; lifeless.
      ‘he was completely inanimate and it was difficult to see if he was breathing’
      • ‘In both photographs the inanimate face is shown in three-quarter profile facing right against a blank background.’
      • ‘And still the numbers and names of the dead ‘hammer through his mind, inanimate as nails’.’
      • ‘His limbs were inanimate, leaving motion only to his prickly black hair dancing to the silent hum of the ocean.’
      lifeless, insentient, insensate, without life, inert, motionless
      View synonyms


Late Middle English: from late Latin inanimatus ‘lifeless’, from in- ‘not’ + animatus (see animate).