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(of an animal) having normal physical functions suspended or slowed down for a period of time; in or as if in a deep sleep:dormant butterflies figurativethe event evoked memories that she would rather had lain dormant (of a plant or bud) alive but not actively growing. (of a volcano) temporarily inactive. (of a disease) causing no symptoms but not cured and liable to recur. [usually postpositive] Heraldry (of an animal) depicted lying with its head on its paws.