alienate

verb

alien·​ate ˈā-lē-ə-ˌnāt How to pronounce alienate (audio)
ˈāl-yə-
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: to cause to be withdrawn or diverted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 noun
Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of alienate in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Pulling the alliance into Asia fuels Beijing’s narrative of a U.S.-led confrontation between global blocs and risks alienating Asian countries without ultimately helping to shore up regional security or deterrence. Mathieu Droin, Foreign Affairs, 8 July 2024 Pepper was reelected in 1936, 1938 and 1944, but the results in 1944 were close, and his support for Russian leader Josef Stalin alienated many voters. James C. Clark, Orlando Sentinel, 4 July 2024 Others worry that Harris’s reputation as a California liberal, accurate or not, could alienate White centrists in the Midwestern suburbs that Democrats need to win. Nicole Markus, Washington Post, 3 July 2024 As a result, Whole Foods, with more than 500 U.S. stores and plans to open 30 new ones annually, cannot afford to alienate any customers. Byphil Wahba, Fortune, 29 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for alienate 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'alienate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

borrowed from Latin aliēnātus, past participle of aliēnāre "to transfer (goods, property) to another, lose possession of, render hostile, estrange," verbal derivative of aliēnus "not one's own, of others, foreign, strange" — more at alien entry 1

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of alienate was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near alienate

Cite this Entry

“Alienate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/alienate. Accessed 24 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

alienate

verb
alien·​ate ˈā-lē-ə-ˌnāt How to pronounce alienate (audio)
ˈāl-yə-ˌnāt
alienated; alienating
1
: to transfer (as a title, property, or right) to another
2
: to cause (one who used to be friendly or loyal) to become unfriendly or disloyal

Medical Definition

alienate

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

Legal Definition

alienate

transitive verb
alien·​ate ˈā-lē-ə-ˌnāt How to pronounce alienate (audio)
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 sharesStrickland v. Rahaim, 549 So. 2d 58 (1989)
compare devise
Etymology

Latin alienare, from alienus not one's own

More from Merriam-Webster on alienate

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