Deactivate vs. Inactivate- (Grammar and Usage) (2023)

Deactivate and “inactivate” are two separate words in the English language. They have certain meanings. They differ in terms of grammar and usage. They have some sort of idiomatic difference. Despite their ability to disrupt or eliminate normal functioning to its initial level, or to completely disrupt something you were doing normally, they differ in terms of how to use this word correctly and in the appropriate context.

Deactivate means rendering something inactive or no longer effective, whereas inactive means rendering something useless.

Hence, both of them are those words of the English language that have their individuality in terms of the rules of grammar and usage. I will give all the meanings and startling differences between these two terms and will address the necessary grammatical rules to improve your vocabulary.

Let’s get started!

What is the distinction between the terms “deactivate” and “inactivate”?

Both terms refer to rendering a person incapable of performing normal functions. They are semantically equivalent. However, there is an idiomatic distinction.

Inactivation is the suppression of action through a change in form or environment. Deactivating something means making it inoperable by disconnecting or disassembling it.

The distinction is subtle. In practice, inactivate is typically used in the biological sciences, whereas deactivate is commonly used in engineering.

An enzyme can be inactivated by adjusting the pH of the solution it is in or by changing its temperature. On, deactivates a radio by turning it off, removing the batteries, or striking it with a hammer.

The usage of both these words varies according to subject and context.

Inactivate vs. Deactivate- What’s the difference?

There is no semantic difference between the two, and their general meanings are the same. They are both antonyms of activating. They mean;

To cease or stop an activity 
Thereisaslightdifferencebetweenthetwointermsofpragmatics or we can say they have different contextual meanings.

Deactivateimplies(oronecaninfer)amorepermanentcessationofactivitythaninactivate,whichimpliesthattheactivitymay returnrelativelysoon.

“Inactive” means idle or not working, so when you deactivate something, it stops doing what it normally does. For example, when we deactivate an account, it becomes inactive.

I think some of the confusion is already cleared.

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What is meant by “deactivate”?

To deactivate something means turning it off. Something inactive is something that has already been turned off. The word “inactivate” does not exist. The correct wording is “deactivate. It means that you are no longer active.

Whether it’s a credit card that’s been canceled, a membership that’s been canceled, or something else. In all these cases we use the word “Deactivated”.

It means being rendered inactive. When referring to machinery or technology, it usually means that it has been turned off and is no longer performing its function. When in the inactive state, anything that can be described as being able to switch from an active state to an inactive state is said to be deactivated.

We use the word “deactivated” for technology or machinery that has stopped or is not long in working condition.

Deactivate vs. Inactivate- (Grammar and Usage) (1)

Is inactivated interchangeable with deactivated?

The verb “inactivate” exists, but it was only widely used from the 1960s to the early 1980s. The term “deactivate” is not used in the same way as “inactivate” is.

Inactivate” literally means “to render something (a thing) inactive, inoperative, or inoperable.” To put it another way, to make something not work.

Household bleach, for example, does not inactivate the virus, and coffee tends to inactivate medicinal remedies.

Compare this to “deactivate,” which means to make something inactive by destroying or disconnecting it—for example, the switch deactivates the alarm.

So, by seeing all of these literal meanings, it seems better if we use the word “deactivate” rather than the word “inactivate” in a sentence.

Have a deeper look at the meaning of “inactivate” through this video.

Can we compare inactivated and deactivated?

The terms “inactivate” and “deactivate” are interchangeable. Deactivate is more commonly used when dealing with technical equipment, but they both mean the same thing.

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As a verbTo make inactiveTo deactivate, to prevent a reaction or two make something no longer effective
Alternative formsInactiveDe-activate
ExamplesMy computer was inactivated; everything was erased.I have deactivated my Instagram account.

Although they seem to signify the same thing, I prefer to use inactivate because of my medical background, where deactivate was never used as a transitive verb. But it was used in my practical life, to deactivate my credit card and to deactivate my social media account.

The pronunciation for inactivate is ; inaktvt/inaktverb ; It means to make it dormant or non-functional.

Example : Household bleach does not render the virus inactive.”

The pronunciation for deactivate is : daktvt/Daktvt/Daktvt/DaktvAs a verb it means: To Disconnect or destroy anything, usually technical equipment or a virus, to render it inert.

For example: “The alarm is deactivated via the switch.”

Disable, defuse, disarm, disconnect, inactivate, make inoperative, immobilise, stop, and turn off are synonyms for disable, defuse, disarm, disconnect, inactivate, make inoperative, immobilise, stop, and turn off.

Both words have antonym activity. While they are used separately in context, the subject and sentence need to be used.

What do you mean by “inactivated”?

In technology, the term “inactivate” is also used frequently. I believe it stems from the fact that “active” and “inactive” are two opposing states, which gives rise to the verbs “activating” and “inactivating.” turn inactive.

It has several meanings as a verb and as an adjective.

Verb: discharge from military service or removal from the active military service list

verb [transitive]

As an adjective: To make inactive or inoperative Example: It is an inactivated polio vaccine

To summarize, Inactivated for cultures of bacteria and viruses in biochemical and biotechnological studies.

Deactivate vs. Inactivate- (Grammar and Usage) (2)


A deactivated account is equivalent to a closed account. It’s the same as closing a bank or credit card account. The person who owns the account is usually the one who deactivates it. Some people decide to discontinue their use of social media and close their accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and so on.

Someclaimitisaddictive,and,well,toomuchofanythingisn’tgood. So they just deactivate their accounts. Everyone has a personal reason to deactivate their social media account. The same goes for their credit or debit cards.

(Video) Turn off the Dictionary on a Mac

So, deactivating an account means shutting it off, either for some time or for a longer period.

Have a look at this video to have a better understanding of the word “deactivated.”


Inactivation is the suppression of action through a change in form or environment. While Deactivating something means making it inoperable by disconnecting or disassembling it.



What exactly is inactivated?

It has two meanings such as;

  • To inactivate the complement of normal serum by destroying certain biological activities.
  • To render (as an infectious agent) bacteria incapable of causing disease.

OtherWordsRelatedtoInactivate are turned off or turned on.

Is it inactivated or unactivated?

The distinction between inactive and unactivated as adjectives is that inactive is inactivated, whereas unactivated is not (yet) activated.

Although it is quite complex to memorize all the meanings, remembering the correct version is the easiest.

What are some examples of deactivated in a sentence?

The examples below show some of the usages of “deactivated” in a sentence, and some contextual meanings for this word.

  • If you want to deactivate a computer, usually all you have to do is press the power button.
  • My debit card has been deactivated due to a low balance.
  • I deactivated my Instagram account so that I can focus on my exams in a better way.

These examples will help you better understand the meaning of this word.

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Is deactivating the same as Disabling?

No, they are not the same. The difference between deactivate and disable as verbs is that deactivate is to make something inactive or no longer effective, whereas disable is to render someone unable to do so.


In other words, deactivate is to render something inactive or ineffective in order to prevent a biochemical agent such as an enzyme. It means todischargeapersonorpieceofequipmentfromactivemilitaryservice.

While, disable refers to render incapable; to take away a capability. We can say that, it means to impair a person’s physical or mental abilities is to cause a serious, permanent injury.

For example, He was rendered disable after falling off the horse. It used to disable an electronic or mechanical device’s function.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the words “deactivated” and “inactivated” are two different words having the same meaning, meaning “not turned off” or “making something less effective.” They have separate meanings if we look at them as a noun and as a verb. They vary in terms of usage from subject to subject. Inactivate is used in terms of biological studies to inactivate a culture medium, be it a virus or a bacteria.

On the other hand, deactivation is used in technical and everyday terms to turn off or cease the effect of technology. For example, we use the word “deactivate” for our bank accounts, social media handles, and other daily usage services. But we never used it in terms of science and research.

Because they both mean the same thing, deactivate and inactivate can be used interchangeably. They have the same antonyms, such as active. There are many synonyms for these words, such as disabled, immobilize, stop, turn off, or disconnect. Thus, it completely depends on the context to opt for the word.

Overall, both these words are considered different in terms of grammar and usage. It depends on which one you choose to use. Most people use inactivate to support their sentences. While some people use deactivate for technical work.

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How do you use deactivate in a sentence? ›

How to use deactivate in a sentence. This ship is crowded with a complete set of automatic defenses that I cant deactivate. It will not be possible to deactivate it before 12.45 hours.

What's the meaning of inactivate? ›

inactivated; inactivating. : to make inactive: as. : to destroy certain biological activities of.

What's the difference between activate and deactivate? ›

The Activate event occurs when an object becomes the active window. The Deactivate event occurs when an object is no longer the active window.

Is deactivate hyphenated? ›

Wondering how to hyphenate the English word deactivate? This word can be hyphenated and contains 4 syllables as shown below.

Is it disable or deactivate? ›

Technically it should be disable as usually you disable a button not deactivate it. Deactivate may also mean that you are destroying the button while disable means that you are just not enabling the normal functioning of the button. Save this answer.

How can I use used in a sentence? ›

Used sentence example
  • He used to be a pretty good mechanic. ...
  • He is selling a used vehicle that is five years old. ...
  • I used to trust Dad. ...
  • I'll just have to get used to being idle. ...
  • We are so used to being with the big boys. ...
  • Frank is a very nervous dog who isn't used to being left alone. ...
  • We used to be so close.

What is the past tense of inactivate? ›

past tense of inactivate is inactivated.

What is another word for deactivate? ›

decommission. verbwithdraw from active service. deactivate. demilitarize. make inactive.

What is the difference between inactive and deactive? ›

There is an idiomatic difference, however. To inactivate is to suppress action by alteration of form or environment. To deactivate is to render in capable of action by disconnecting or disassembly. The difference is subtle.

What does temporary deactivate mean? ›

If you temporarily deactivate your account, your profile, photos, comments and likes will be hidden until you reactivate it by logging back in. You can only deactivate your Instagram account from a computer, a mobile browser, or the Instagram app for iPhone.

Does deactivated mean blocked? ›

If they have deactivated their account, their profile will still be there. While it's not nice to discover that you've been blocked by someone, it's important to respect and accept their decision to remove you from their online world.

What is the difference between enabled and active? ›

So while for the time it is being used, that is the time when you call the feature Active because it has some processing to do and has focus. Enabled means the item or anything that is enabled, means the item is in a state that it can answer the queries or connection or perform the operation if asked to perform.

What is the correct hyphen? ›

The hyphen (-) is a mark that joins words or parts of words and is placed directly between letters and with no spaces.

When should I hyphenate? ›

Most often, you will hyphenate between two or more adjectives when they come before a noun and act as a single idea. This is the most common use of the hyphen. brightly lit room (Do not hyphenate: Brightly is an adverb describing lit, not an adjective.)

Is there a hyphen in reactivate? ›

verb (used with object), re·ac·ti·vat·ed, re·ac·ti·vat·ing. to render active again; revive. verb (used without object), re·ac·ti·vat·ed, re·ac·ti·vat·ing.

Is it okay to say disable? ›

It is okay to use words or phrases such as “disabled,” “disability,” or “people with disabilities” when talking about disability issues. Ask the people you are with which term they prefer if they have a disability.

What is the opposite of deactivate? ›

Antonyms: activate. make active or more active. types: paralyse, paralyze.

Is disable a verb or adjective? ›

disable (verb) disabled (adjective) disabled list (noun)

What is the rule of used to in grammar? ›

We use used to + infinitive to talk about a past situation that is no longer true. It tells us that there was a repeated action or state in the past which has now changed. She used to be a long-distance runner when she was younger.

Is used to grammatically correct? ›

It may be that many people in fact say use to rather than used to, but since the pronunciations are essentially identical, it makes no difference. (The same occurrence happens in the pronunciation of supposed to.) In writing, however, use to in place of used to is an error.

Is anyways grammatically incorrect? ›

Simply put, “anyway” without an S is correct. Always use it without the S. “Anyways” with the S is considered slang, and is a part of nonstandard, colloquial, or informal English. Furthermore, since “anyway” is an adverb and it is impossible for adverbs to be plural.

What is the noun of inactivation? ›

Noun. inactivation (countable and uncountable, plural inactivations) The process of rendering something inactive.

Can inactive be a verb? ›

verb (used with object), in·ac·ti·vat·ed, in·ac·ti·vat·ing. to make inactive: The bomb was inactivated. Immunology. to stop the activity of (certain biological substances).

Is deactivated a verb form? ›

past tense of deactivate is deactivated.

How do you say stop for temporarily? ›

  1. break it up.
  2. call time.
  3. catch one's breath.
  4. cease.
  5. come to standstill.
  6. deliberate.
  7. desist.
  8. discontinue.

How do you say inactive without inactive? ›

synonyms for inactive
  1. dormant.
  2. dull.
  3. idle.
  4. immobile.
  5. inoperative.
  6. jobless.
  7. passive.
  8. sedentary.

What is correct inactive or unactive? ›

Adjective. unactive (comparative more unactive, superlative most unactive) Not active; inactive.

What is a negative word for inactive? ›

1 unmoving, immobile, inoperative. 3 lazy, idle, slothful.

What happens when an account is deactivated? ›

Your profile, photos, posts, videos, and everything else you've added will be permanently deleted. You won't be able to retrieve anything you've added. You'll no longer be able to use Facebook Messenger.

How to deactivate iPhone? ›

Enter your Apple ID password and tap Turn Off. If you're using iOS 10.2 or earlier, tap Settings > iCloud > Sign Out. Tap Sign Out again, then tap Delete from My [device] and enter your Apple ID password. Then go to Settings > iTunes & App Store > Apple ID > Sign Out.

What happens when account gets deactivated? ›

After your account becomes inactive or dormant, transactions generated by the system like interest credit will be invalid. However, in case earnings of a fixed deposit (FD) or dividend on your shares are credited to your savings account, then such activities will be regarded as a customer-induced transaction.

Does deactivated mean deleted? ›

Tip: The main difference between deactivating and deleting a user is that a deactivated user can be reactivated while deleting a user is permanent. Keep in mind that if a user is deleted from the account and then needs to be added back to the account, they will be added as a brand new user.

How do you know if someone is deactivated? ›

Here are the different ways to determine if someone has deactivated or deleted their Instagram account.
  1. Search for the User. ...
  2. Go Through Your Messages. ...
  3. Confirm Activity Visibility on Your Profile. ...
  4. Check From Another Instagram Account. ...
  5. Search From a Web Browser. ...
  6. Ask the Person Directly.
Nov 2, 2022

Can someone still message me if I deactivate Messenger? ›

If you had a Facebook account and deactivated it, using Messenger won't reactivate your Facebook account, and your Facebook friends can still message you. You can either download the Messenger mobile app if you don't already have it, or use Messenger on

What is the use of enabled? ›

enabled; enabling -b(ə-)liŋ : to make able. glasses enable you to read. : to make possible, practical, or easy. : to give legal power or permission to.

Does enabled mean allowed? ›

To enable someone to do something means to give them the opportunity to do it. It does not mean to give them permission to do it.

Is it disabled or enabled? ›

But that's in the outer context...the word disabled (in IT terms) refers to state, not to intent. "Enabled" usually means an option that was either previously disabled; an option that is (by default) enabled; and the implication (right or wrong) is that it could be disabled at some point.

What is the rule for hyphenated words? ›

Generally, you need the hyphen only if the two or more words are functioning together as an adjective before the noun they're describing. If the noun comes first, leave the hyphen out.

What are the four hyphen rules? ›

Using hyphens with prefixes
  1. Hyphenate prefixes before proper nouns. ...
  2. Use a hyphen with most words that begin with the prefix self-. ...
  3. Use a hyphen with words that begin with the prefix ex-. ...
  4. Use a hyphen with most words that begin with the prefix non-. ...
  5. Use a hyphen when the prefix ends in the same letter the word begins.

Which of the following should not be hyphenated? ›

Never hyphenate compounds including an adverb (generally, a word ending in 'ly'), whether attributive or predicative.

When can I use double hyphen? ›

Two dashes can emphasize a modifier. Words or phrases that describe a noun can be set off with dashes if you wish to emphasize them. Example: The fairgrounds—cold and wet in the October rain—were deserted. Example: Nettie—her chin held high—walked out into the storm.

Why do we hyphenate two words? ›

A hyphen (-) is a short line within a word that is used to compound, or join, two separate words or to separate a word at the end of a printed line of text. It is also used with certain prefixes and for clarity. *Hyphenate two words when they are being used as a single adjective before a noun but not after.

Why would you hyphenate a word? ›

Hyphens (-) are used to join two or more words that act as a single term; to form some compound words; to join some prefixes, suffixes, and letters to a word; and to show a series of hyphenated words that have a common ending.

Is reevaluate with or without a hyphen? ›

First, you need a hyphen when you place a prefix onto a capitalized word: anti-American. Second, you need a hyphen to avoid creating a double i or a double a: anti-insect, ultra-active. (But a double e or double o is ok: reevaluate, cooperate.)

Does reinstate need hyphen? ›

Hyphenation of reinstate

This word can be hyphenated and contains 3 syllables as shown below.

Is it reread or re read? ›

Google search defines "Either is fine. Reread (solid) and re-read (hyphenated) are used in equal measure in all sorts of writing. Once you use one version, stick to it throughout the copy. The modern trend is to go less on internal word hyphenations -- but there are exceptions, of course."

What is another word for deactivated? ›

decommission. verbwithdraw from active service. deactivate. demilitarize. make inactive.

Does deactivating mean deleting? ›

Tip: The main difference between deactivating and deleting a user is that a deactivated user can be reactivated while deleting a user is permanent. Keep in mind that if a user is deleted from the account and then needs to be added back to the account, they will be added as a brand new user.

How do I deactivate my account? ›

Tap in the top right, then tap Settings. Tap Accounts Center, then tap Personal details. Tap Account ownership and control, then tap Deactivation or deletion.

What is temporarily inactive called? ›

temporary inactivity or suspension. desuetude. a state of inactivity or disuse. dormancy, quiescence, quiescency. a state of quiet (but possibly temporary) inaction.

What is a positive word for inactive? ›

Positive connotations of "inactive" will tend to centre around the benefits of being "inactive", so words like "rest" and "unwinding" are positive.

How do you know if someone has deleted or deactivated? ›

Search From a Web Browser

Replace “username” with the actual username of that person. A "Sorry, this page isn't available" message will appear if you have no access to the account. That means the person has either deactivated the account or blocked you.

Does deactivated mean Unfriended? ›

When account holders deactivate their accounts, they "become invisible." They no longer appear on others' lists of friends, nor can others "unfriend" them.

What happens when we deactivate account? ›

Your profile, photos, posts, videos, and everything else you've added will be permanently deleted. You won't be able to retrieve anything you've added. You'll no longer be able to use Facebook Messenger.

Does deactivating account delete everything? ›

Deactivating your account does not fully delete it. When you deactivate your account, Facebook saves all of your settings, photos, and information in case you decide to reactivate your account. Your information isn't gone—it's just hidden.

Why would an account be deactivated? ›

There are several reasons why this may have occurred: The account was deactivated by request of the customer who owns it. The account went unused for an extended period of time. There was suspicious activity on this account and as a precaution, it has been deactivated.


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