- lying asleep or as if asleep; inactive, as in sleep; torpid: The lecturer’s sudden shout woke the dormant audience.
- in a state of rest or inactivity; inoperative; in abeyance: The project is dormant for the time being.
- Biology. in a state of minimal metabolic activity with cessation of growth, either as a reaction to adverse conditions or as part of an organism’s normal annual rhythm.
- undisclosed; unasserted: dormant musical talent.
- (of a volcano) not erupting.
- Botany. temporarily inactive: dormant buds; dormant seeds.
- (of a pesticide) applied to a plant during a period of dormancy: a dormant spray.
- Heraldry. (of an animal) represented as lying with its head on its forepaws, as if asleep.
- quiet and inactive, as during sleep
- latent or inoperative
- (of a volcano) neither extinct nor erupting
- biology alive but in a resting torpid condition with suspended growth and reduced metabolism
- (usually postpositive) heraldry (of a beast) in a sleeping position
adj.late 14c., “fixed in place,” from Old French dormant (12c.), present participle of dormir “to sleep,” from Latin dormire “to sleep,” from PIE root *drem- “to sleep” (cf. Old Church Slavonic dremati “to sleep, doze,” Greek edrathon “I slept,” Sanskrit drati “sleeps”). Meaning “in a resting situation” (in heraldry) is from c.1500. Meaning “sleeping’ is from 1620s.
- Being in an inactive state during which growth and development cease and metabolism is slowed, usually in response to an adverse environment. In winter, some plants survive as dormant seeds or bulbs, and some animals enter the dormant state of hibernation.
- Not active but capable of renewed activity. Volcanoes that have erupted within historical times and are expected to erupt again are dormant.