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

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 The members of Proper are all Black, and in a genre where alienation is already top of mind, lyrics about navigating through whiteness stands out. Washington Post, 22 Nov. 2021 Modi's decision will be seen as a political masterstroke ahead of some key state polls, particularly in Punjab, where growing alienation of the Sikh community over the laws was palpable. NBC News, 19 Nov. 2021 The alienation of the Right counterculture from modern America is apparent whenever its spokesmen demean and defame their fellow countrymen, say their country is lost or not worth saving, and look to foreign strongmen for guidance and succor. Matthew Continetti, National Review, 23 Oct. 2021 The extremist brands of politicized Islam have usually emerged in countries plagued by poverty and high unemployment, autocratic rule and political alienation, sectarian or social marginalization, and heavy foreign influence. Robin Wrigh, The New Yorker, 23 Aug. 2021 Themes of male voyeurism, unrequited desire, violence, alienation, and retribution fill the show. Steven Litt, cleveland, 1 Aug. 2021 But before long a chill seeps in, darkening the movie’s melodies and tilting a once-glorious love story into a spiral — a veritable Mael-strom — of alienation, loss and regret. Los Angeles Times, 6 July 2021 Slimani excels at telling this wide-ranging story, expertly folding themes of love, loss, alienation, gender, and belonging into a complex narrative set against the backdrop of World War II. Vogue, 29 May 2021 The price is our alienation, our separation, from the struggles and triumphs of continuing to live. Greg Jackson, Harper's Magazine, 25 May 2021

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

Middle English alienacioun "transference of property rights, derangement, estrangement," borrowed from Anglo-French alienaciun, alienation, borrowed from Latin aliēnātiōn-, aliēnātiō "transference of ownership, estrangement, hostility" (mentis aliēnātiō "mental derangement, insanity"), from aliēnāre "to transfer (goods, property) to another, render hostile, estrange" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of verbal action — more at alienate

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

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Dictionary Entries Near alienation



alienation of affection

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Statistics for alienation

Last Updated

27 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Alienation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Dec. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on alienation

Nglish: Translation of alienation for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of alienation for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about alienation


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