alienate

play
verb alien·ate \ ˈā-lē-ə-ˌnāt , ˈāl-yə- \

Definition of alienate

alienated; alienating
transitive verb
1 :to cause to be estranged :to make unfriendly, hostile, or indifferent especially where attachment formerly existed
  • He alienated most of his colleagues with his bad temper.
  • Her position on this issue has alienated many former supporters.
2 :to convey or transfer (something, such as property or a right) usually by a specific act rather than the due course of law
3 :to cause to be withdrawn or diverted
  • alienate capital from its natural channels

alienator

play \-ˌnā-tər\ noun

Recent Examples of alienate from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'alienate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of alienate

see 1alien

Synonym Discussion of alienate

estrange, alienate, disaffect mean to cause one to break a bond of affection or loyalty. estrange implies the development of indifference or hostility with consequent separation or divorcement.
    • his estranged wife
alienate may or may not suggest separation but always implies loss of affection or interest.
    • managed to alienate all his coworkers
disaffect refers especially to those from whom loyalty is expected and stresses the effects (such as rebellion or discontent) of alienation without actual separation.
    • troops disaffected by hunger

ALIENATE Defined for English Language Learners

alienate

play
verb

Definition of alienate for English Language Learners

  • : to make (someone) unfriendly : to cause (someone) to stop being friendly, helpful, etc., towards you

  • : to cause (someone) to feel that she or he no longer belongs in a particular group, society, etc.


ALIENATE Defined for Kids

alienate

play
verb alien·ate \ ˈā-lē-ə-ˌnāt , ˈāl-yə- \

Definition of alienate for Students

alienated; alienating
:to cause (a person who used to be friendly or loyal) to become unfriendly or disloyal She alienated most of her friends with her bad temper.

Medical Dictionary

alienate

play
transitive verb alien·ate \ ˈā-lē-ə-ˌnāt, ˈāl-yə- \

medical Definition of alienate

alienated; alienating
:to make unfriendly, hostile, or indifferent where attachment formerly existed

Law Dictionary

alienate

play
transitive verb alien·ate \ ˈā-lē-ə-ˌnāt \

legal Definition of alienate

alienated; alienating
:to give away or sell (property or a property right) to another
  • will not sell, transfer, assign, hypothecate or otherwise alienate any of his voting shares
  • Strickland v. Rahaim, 549 So. 2d 58 (1989)
— compare devise

alienation

play \ˌā-lē-ə-ˈnā-shən, ˌāl-yə-\ noun

Origin and Etymology of alienate

Latin alienare, from alienus not one's own



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up alienate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

a strongly worded attack

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Merriam-Webster's New Words Quiz—Fall 2017 Edition!

  • young-plant-shoots
  • Which of the following is a new sense of the word bunny?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!