alien·​ation | \ ˌā-lē-ə-ˈnā-shən How to pronounce alienation (audio) , ˌāl-yə-\

Definition of alienation

1 : a withdrawing or separation of a person or a person's affections from an object or position of former attachment : estrangement alienation … from the values of one's society and family— S. L. Halleck
2 : a conveyance of property to another

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Examples of alienation in a Sentence

after years of alienation from her family, she became reconciled with them when her father fell ill

Recent Examples on the Web

In a 25-year career as a screenwriter, director and dramatist, Lonergan has gravitated to contemporary tales of tragedy and alienation, often revolving around well-meaning, self-sabotaging screw-ups. Meredith Blake,, "Oscar winner Kenneth Lonergan goes back in time with Starz's 'Howards End'," 5 Apr. 2018 But for Caruso, throwing herself into the role of a girl who overcomes a sense of alienation was a no-brainer. Nojan Aminosharei, Harper's BAZAAR, "Beetlejuice's Sophia Anne Caruso Is Bringing Goth to Broadway," 17 Apr. 2019 The series will follow the team, each of whom has acquired special powers and has faced alienation from society as a result. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "DC Universe’s Doom Patrol arrives on February 15th," 21 Dec. 2018 More commonly though, the motivation is identified as mental illness, alienation from society or a desire to settle scores. Fox News, "Death toll at 11 in China vehicle attack, 44 in hospital," 13 Sep. 2018 But as with much other protest music of late, social alienation blurs with preexisting personal demons. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Nine Inch Nails Is Still Pushing the Sound of Catharsis," 22 June 2018 But as positive as online organizing and online communities can be, there is also a sort of alienation that comes with them. Sage Grace Dolan-sandrino, Teen Vogue, "I'm a Trans Student, and the Trump Administration Memo Won't Erase Me," 23 Oct. 2018 Everything else would have meant too narrow and specific an alienation of my existence. Joseph Horowitz, WSJ, "‘Wilhelm Furtwängler’ Review: Apostle of Inwardness," 3 Aug. 2018 At the same time, hopelessness and alienation among some of the kingdom’s young people, driven by high youth unemployment, have provided fertile ground for recruitment by militant groups. Alice Su, The Seattle Times, "Suspects in latest Jordan attack are homegrown militants," 13 Aug. 2018

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

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First Known Use of alienation

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for alienation

see alien entry 1

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Statistics for alienation

Last Updated

29 May 2019

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Time Traveler for alienation

The first known use of alienation was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for alienation


alien·​ation | \ ˌā-lē-ə-ˈnā-shən, ˌāl-yə- How to pronounce alienation (audio) \

Medical Definition of alienation

: a withdrawing or separation of a person or a person's affections from an object or position of former attachment alienation…from the values of one's society and family— S. L. Halleck

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