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Borrowed from Latin quiēscēns (resting, reposing, sleeping), present participle of quiēscere, from quiēs (rest, repose, quiet).


  • IPA(key): /kwaɪˈɛsənt/, /kwɪˈɛsənt/, [kwaɪ̯ˈɛsn̩t], [kwiˈɛsn̩t]
    • (file)
  • Hyphenation: qui‧es‧cent
  • Rhymes: -ɛsənt


quiescent (comparative more quiescent, superlative most quiescent)

  1. Inactive, quiet, at rest.
    The bats were quiescent at that time of day, so we slowly entered the cave.
    • 1840, John Wilson, “On the Genius and Character of Burns”, in John Wilson; Robert Chambers, The Land of Burns, a Series of Landscapes and Portraits, Illustrative of the Life and Writings of the Scottish Poet. The Landscapes from Paintings made Expressly for the Work, by D[avid] O[ctavius] Hill, Esq., R.S.A. The Literary Department, by Professor Wilson, of the University of Edinburgh; and Robert Chambers, Esq., Author of the “Scottish Biographical Dictionary,” “Picture of Scotland,” Etc. Etc., volume II, 2nd edition, Glasgow: Blackie & Son, Queen Street, Glasgow; South College Street, Edinburgh; and Warwick Square, London, OCLC 314762618, page ci:
      In times of national security, the feeling of Patriotism among the masses is so quiescent that it seems hardly to exist—in their case national glory or national danger awakens it, and it leaps up armed cap-a-pie.
    • 2020 October 15, Frank Pasquale, “‘Machines set loose to slaughter’: the dangerous rise of military AI”, in The Guardian[1]:
      After all, nations are pouring massive resources into military applications of AI, and many citizens don’t know or don’t care. Yet that quiescent attitude may change over time, as the domestic use of AI surveillance ratchets up, and that technology is increasingly identified with shadowy apparatuses of control, rather than democratically accountable local powers.
  2. (orthography) Not sounded; silent.
    The k is quiescent in "knight" and "know".
  3. (cell biology) Non-proliferating.


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  1. third-person plural future active indicative of quiēscō