alien·ation | \ ˌā-lē-ə-ˈnā-shən , 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

Others acknowledged their own sense of generational alienation. Zach Schonfeld, Newsweek, "Am I a Millennial? Caught Between Generations, 12 People Born in 1981 Reflect on Their Experience," 21 Mar. 2018 But trade is merely a symptom of a larger rearrangement of American alienation from its partners. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump Is Fulfilling Russia’s Dream of Splitting the Western Alliance," 8 June 2018 Image The pool party is a squirmy tour de force embellished with a punctuating zoom and a plangent sense of dread that make Kayla’s isolation feel like alienation. Bo Burnham, New York Times, "Review: All the Feels, Hurts and Laughs of ‘Eighth Grade’," 11 July 2018 Since then, alienation has become epidemic in the heartland. Ron Grossman,, "The nation's divide over guns is a disturbing echo of the past," 11 June 2018 In recent years hospitals have tried a variety of wellness programs, but there is a sense this approach didn’t treat the causes of physician angst and alienation. Lucette Lagnado, WSJ, "Hospitals Address Widespread Doctor Burnout," 9 June 2018 The lack of role models from her favorite genre only exacerbated Emily’s feelings of estrangement and alienation from a world obsessed with ability. Pasquale Toscano,, "Where are all the superheroes with disabilities?," 1 June 2018 The decade-long journey that included neglect, abuse, drugs, near-madness, alienation, dislocation, fanatical faith, escapes through jungles and deserts, and some high adventure now took root on Oahu’s North Shore in Hawaii. Paul Theroux, Smithsonian, "The Epic Quest to Ride the World’s Biggest Wave," 27 June 2018 In the absence of any political initiative from Delhi to respond to Kashmiris’ concerns, the heavy-handed efforts of half a million soldiers to crush a few dozen armed militants are compounding a growing sense of alienation from India. The Economist, "India’s victories against militants in Kashmir are largely pyrrhic," 12 May 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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Last Updated

18 Sep 2018

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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- \

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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Comments on alienation

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


the setting in which something occurs

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