Definition of sedentary in US English:



  • 1(of a person) tending to spend much time seated; somewhat inactive.

    ‘we all walk a certain amount every day even if we are sedentary’
    • ‘Along with larger portions of more fattening food, Americans have become increasingly sedentary over the last couple of decades.’
    • ‘For a sedentary person, disease risk becomes significantly higher when BMI exceeds 27.’
    • ‘Compared with more sedentary people, athletes display greater skin perfusion for the same increase in core temperature.’
    • ‘Holman said Aaron's lifestyle in general was relatively sedentary.’
    • ‘Thus, a well-trained athlete may have a more developed endogenous antioxidant system than a sedentary person.’
    • ‘In addition, 78 percent of Americans do not meet basic activity level recommendations and 25 percent are completely sedentary.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, I am the most sedentary person there is.’
    • ‘Few people are so sedentary that they don't move around for at least one hour in the day.’
    • ‘If you are a sedentary person, that's a strike against you, because weight-bearing exercise increases the health of bones.’
    • ‘Moderately active fat people have far lower mortality rates than do thin sedentary people, and the same death rates as thin active people.’
    • ‘If you're relatively sedentary, then you'll need less.’
    • ‘The Governor said walking was essential for sedentary people to keep the system in trim.’
    • ‘Being a completely sedentary person myself, I'm very impressed by people who stay fit.’
    • ‘These results are in startling contrast with studies conducted with sedentary people.’
    • ‘If implemented widely, such a strategy could result in major health benefits for sedentary people.’
    • ‘On your day off you don't need to be completely sedentary.’
    • ‘So sedentary people often gain weight gradually.’
    • ‘Are you going to slip back and be the sedentary person everyone expects, or are you going to stick up for yourself?’
    • ‘This does not always mean that they are sedentary.’
    • ‘Recent studies have also shown that children around the world are becoming increasingly sedentary, especially in poor urban areas.’
    sitting, seated, desk-bound, desk, inactive, still, stationary
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    1. 1.1 (of work or a way of life) characterized by much sitting and little physical exercise.
      ‘a sedentary lifestyle spells bad news for hips and thighs’
      • ‘Sedentary behaviour was higher in overweight children in the intervention group.’
      • ‘Her project implicitly calls for a slower, more sedentary mode of existence.’
      • ‘I find that he is capable of performing at least sedentary tasks up to five days a week for five to six hours each day.’
      • ‘A sedentary lifestyle without at least moderate physical activity is associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer.’
      • ‘Society in general has also become increasingly sedentary.’
      • ‘Bad eating habits and sedentary lifestyle play a role in the onset of diabetes.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, heavy work in industry and agriculture has mostly been replaced by sedentary activities in service industries.’
      • ‘Approximately 55% report a sedentary lifestyle and 26% have no leisure-time physical activity.’
      • ‘Haemorrhoids are not caused by sitting on cold hard surfaces, prolonged standing or sedentary work.’
      • ‘My body had begun to stiffen up after many years of sedentary work as a therapist.’
      • ‘Other sedentary activities - playing video and computer games or talking on the phone - also should be limited.’
      • ‘Having arrived at the waterside, the angler goes into sedentary mode, where he exerts very little energy, and becomes easily cooled.’
      • ‘Twelve were allocated to aerobic and strength training, and six led more sedentary lifestyles.’
      • ‘I was fat for about 10 years living in France and the US with mainly sedentary work and abundance of food to eat.’
      • ‘But if you've also learned unhealthy eating habits and sedentary ways from your family, you'll need to change your lifestyle.’
      • ‘But we burn off fewer of them because of our more sedentary lifestyles.’
      • ‘In addition to increasing physical activity, decreasing sedentary activity is also important.’
      • ‘Patients returned to sedentary work after 1 week and to strenuous work after 5 to 6 months.’
      • ‘He mentioned TV and computer activity, and that work is more sedentary.’
      • ‘We found no significant difference in physical activity or sedentary behaviour for the sample as a whole.’
      sitting, seated, desk-bound, desk, inactive, still, stationary
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    2. 1.2 (of a position) sitting; seated.
      ‘he spoke from a sedentary position’
      • ‘Then I notice that in this sedentary position, the whole ensemble rides up around my waist.’
      • ‘The UK won 30 medals 19, of which were won from a sedentary position.’
      • ‘Normally, when one stood up from a sedentary position, one's mind would be unequal in circulatory oxygen than the rest of the body.’
      • ‘This time, Taras, only for a crisp moment, acted tentative in taking the sedentary position.’
      • ‘Similarly, Toronto festivalgoers can see the world every year without leaving a sedentary position.’
      sitting, seated, desk-bound, desk, inactive, still, stationary
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3Anthropology Zoology Inhabiting the same locality throughout life; not migratory or nomadic.
      ‘a tribe of sedentary agriculturists’
      • ‘Falconids can be sedentary or migratory.’
      • ‘Some species of ovenbirds are migratory, others are sedentary.’
      • ‘Even a relatively sedentary species can be listed if a significant proportion of its number migrate.’
      • ‘The contrast with sedentary tribes could not, at first sight, be more marked.’
      • ‘The fish that were sedentary during the summer inhabited the deepest holes of the river.’
    4. 1.4Zoology (of an animal) sessile.
      • ‘Most studies of invertebrate larval metamorphosis have been performed with species that are sedentary or sessile as adults.’
      • ‘At first it seemed that it was just a sedentary pest in residential plantings, where it could be controlled with dormant oil or insecticidal soap sprays.’
      • ‘Finally, this normally sedentary animal inflated a muscular cone at its base to lever itself free from its moorings and danced away in the water column.’
      • ‘The walls and sea floor consist of stark boulders and rough seams of rock uncolonised by sedentary species.’
      • ‘Shake the crab harder, and you may dislodge tiny sea stars feeding on oysters and mussels, or sea urchins scavenging for seaweed and sedentary invertebrates.’


Late 16th century (in the sense ‘not migratory’): from French sédentaire or Latin sedentarius, from sedere ‘sit’.