Definition of inertia in US English:

inertia

noun

  • 1A tendency to do nothing or to remain unchanged.

    ‘the bureaucratic inertia of government’
    • ‘But whatever the smart individuals inside these organizations might think, bureaucratic inertia is killing those golden-egg geese.’
    • ‘But Arctic Bay residents have received little help and support in advancing their proposal, and their aspirations are now drowning in bureaucratic inertia.’
    • ‘So, whereas what was required under a dictatorship was exceptional courage, what citizens in democracies have to do is overcome apathy and inertia.’
    • ‘It's not yet possible to predict whether the political system will completely dissipate away under the forces of inertia, or whether some renewed political structure will emerge from the ether.’
    • ‘Delays and adjournments dog the work of the courts, and the consequent administrative inertia can sap the energy and enthusiasm of even the most committed researcher.’
    • ‘The capital city needs at its helm a person with ideas and energy who can combat the forces of inertia and inefficiency, and who can initiate and manage urgently needed change.’
    • ‘Consumer passivity and inertia are the greatest allies of the rapacious banks and other financial institutions.’
    • ‘So, giving enough money to councils without dealing with the inherent inertia of management and rampant laziness would be like pouring grain in a bag full of holes.’
    • ‘We prefer to focus on the elusive bureaucrat, the real source of inertia, or lack of it.’
    • ‘All medical care systems sometimes experience some inertia or resistance to change.’
    • ‘In short, purposeful and disciplined policy and funding strategies will have to overcome political inertia and resistance.’
    • ‘It will indicate to the Australian people the absolute determination of this Government to avoid any sense of passivity or any sense of complacency or inertia.’
    • ‘No individual names, but there is a general mindset and inertia of individuals in the bureaucracy, including in [my] office.’
    • ‘It is an astonishing victory over the forces of government inertia, and Hodge could not resist basking in her moment of glory.’
    • ‘As you push yourself to overcome inertia, you need to work against the tendency to feel discouraged and hopeless.’
    • ‘Under current policy there is too much latitude for force structure decisions based on personal whim, the prevailing fashion or as default decisions arising out of bureaucratic compromise or inertia.’
    • ‘What are the strengths that enabled him to survive in a country where plotting is endemic and where almost all attempts at change run into the historic forces of inertia, conservatism and suspicion?’
    • ‘It very well may be a happier year in commodity markets if the facts of last year's short crop overcome continued global economic inertia.’
    • ‘Ignorance, fear, inertia, and stubbornness remain to be overcome.’
    • ‘Do we suffer petrification through continued stasis and inertia or do we trust our inner, creative, inspirational, communal selves and take on the challenge of change?’
    inactivity, inaction, inactiveness, inertness, passivity, apathy, accidie, malaise, stagnation, dullness, enervation, sluggishness, lethargy, languor, languidness, listlessness, torpor, torpidity, idleness, indolence, laziness, sloth, slothfulness
    View synonyms
  • 2Physics
    A property of matter by which it continues in its existing state of rest or uniform motion in a straight line, unless that state is changed by an external force.

    • ‘Unlike Galileo, Newton insisted that the law of inertia applied only to motion in a straight line, not circular motion.’
    • ‘In a sense, physics began with Descartes and the notion of inertia - that blinding flash of insight that the natural state of motion is a constant velocity.’
    • ‘Adding up to six helium atoms drove the molecule's inertia up, they report.’
    • ‘A better way to measure the mass of a microscopic sample is to quantify the sample's inertia as it is forced into motion.’
    • ‘Theoretical work from the 1990s suggests a tantalizing connection between inertia and zero-point energy.’
    • ‘Moment of inertia is a fundamental property in rotational mechanics.’
    • ‘How fast and in what order remains to be seen, but the direction is a matter of inertia without friction.’
    • ‘Electrons possess inertia, so remain at rest or in uniform motion in the same direction unless acted upon by some external force.’
    • ‘Those laws provided the law of inertia governing motion of atoms in between collisions and laws of impact governing collisions.’
    • ‘Why does the amount of matter affect the amount of inertia?’
    • ‘Mass can be measured from an object's tendency to resist moving, i.e., its inertia.’
    1. 2.1with modifier Resistance to change in some other physical property.
      ‘the thermal inertia of the oceans will delay the full rise in temperature for a few decades’
      • ‘Such examples underscore how adaptive nature really is despite biological inertia and how natural selection ‘makes the best of a bad situation’.’
      • ‘Medieval thinkers had not yet mastered the concept of inertia, the tendency for objects to resist any change in their movement.’
      • ‘Floating and drifting by its own initial inertia, the lifeless spacecraft or what it seemed to be, grew smaller and smaller as it merged with the background of different colored planets.’
      • ‘The force of the impact is so great that it pushes the minivan toward the curb where the force of inertia overrides its center of gravity.’
      • ‘By pulling in its legs, the cat can considerably reduce it rotational inertia about the same axis and thus considerably increase its angular speed.’
      • ‘Earth's mass, moreover, measures Earth's inertia or sluggishness if we tried to stop or change its movement through space.’
      • ‘In intermediate Re ranges, both viscosity and inertia determine the flow patterns.’
      • ‘By the force of its own inertia, the club flew towards the wall, breaking into pieces.’
      • ‘Centrifugal ‘force’ is really a function of the inertia of the object being pushed into a circle.’
      • ‘A heavy body weight is a disincentive for movement and physical activity, creating ‘movement inertia.’’
      • ‘A projectile is an object that has been launched, shot, hurled, thrown or by other means projected and which continues in motion due to its own inertia.’
      • ‘All that extra weight has inertia, which you have to overcome to turn, so increasing the weight doesn't help at all.’
      • ‘With the force of inertia, the suits continued to float out in space like simple debris.’
      • ‘The dominating force opposing motion therefore arises from viscosity rather than inertia.’
      • ‘The relatively large mass and thermal inertia of female desert tortoises usually prevents winter activity but facilitates their relaxed homeostasis.’
      • ‘Interestingly, the few studies that have explored this issue seem to point to an overwhelmingly large contribution of wing inertia to the total forces that must be generated.’
      • ‘Soil for the grass over the common room adds to the thermal inertia of the whole.’
      • ‘But Earth is very massive compared to the object, so its inertia or resistance to acceleration is much greater.’
      • ‘The ship wasn't moving so there was no external inertia to overcome, or I likely would not have been able to make the trip.’
      • ‘If the fuel burns rapidly enough, it is confined by its own inertia and requires no external confinement system.’

Origin

Early 18th century (in inertia (sense 2)): from Latin, from iners, inert- (see inert).

Pronunciation

inertia

/ɪˈnərʃə//iˈnərSHə/