Definition of inertia in English:


Syllabification: in·er·tia
Pronunciation: /iˈnərSHə


  • 1A tendency to do nothing or to remain unchanged: the bureaucratic inertia of government
    More example sentences
    • Ignorance, fear, inertia, and stubbornness remain to be overcome.
    • 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.
    • But whatever the smart individuals inside these organizations might think, bureaucratic inertia is killing those golden-egg geese.
    inactivity, inaction, inertness; unchanged state, stationary condition, stasis
  • 2 Physics 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. See also moment of inertia.
    More example sentences
    • A better way to measure the mass of a microscopic sample is to quantify the sample's inertia as it is forced into motion.
    • Unlike Galileo, Newton insisted that the law of inertia applied only to motion in a straight line, not circular motion.
    • How fast and in what order remains to be seen, but the direction is a matter of inertia without friction.
  • 2.1 [with adjective] 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
    More example sentences
    • The relatively large mass and thermal inertia of female desert tortoises usually prevents winter activity but facilitates their relaxed homeostasis.
    • Soil for the grass over the common room adds to the thermal inertia of the whole.
    • A heavy body weight is a disincentive for movement and physical activity, creating ‘movement inertia.’



More example sentences
  • The doors close as soon as Jewel is clear, and the inertialess transport quickly jets away from the building, circling around the city center and out over the desert.
  • The mirror surface of the ball doubles as a solar collector, and everything, the radio control, the laser, targeting, gyros, inertialess drive, all run off the battery.
  • A simple inertialess quasi-real-time microwave holographic recording system is described and preliminary results are presented.


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

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