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 The often dreamlike universe of Glück’s poems is largely indifferent to human affairs; its sense of alienation can be devastating but also, sometimes simultaneously, the source of a dry, trenchant humor. Hannah Aizenman, The New Yorker, "Nobel Laureate Louise Glück in The New Yorker," 9 Oct. 2020 Black users have taken to the site to call out racial discrimination in the workplace and share their stories of alienation on the job. Ashanti M. Martin, New York Times, "Black LinkedIn Is Thriving. Does LinkedIn Have a Problem With That?," 8 Oct. 2020 Turkey’s alienation from Europe continues to deepen. Walter Russell Mead, WSJ, "The EU Isn’t Built to Lead," 28 Sep. 2020 The confrontation between Rittenhouse and Rosenbaum, and the bloodshed that followed, was more accidental than political — the product of anger, alienation and a tragic, chance encounter between a mentally ill man and a heavily armed teenager. Robert Klemko, Washington Post, "A mentally ill man, a heavily armed teenager and the night Kenosha burned," 3 Oct. 2020 Since then, the social and economic alienation of French Muslims has only deepened. Noemie Bisserbe, WSJ, "France’s Emmanuel Macron Targets ‘Islamic Separatism’ With Proposed Law," 2 Oct. 2020 This diagnosis is not necessarily conservative; some of it might be endorsed by more radical feminists, for whom the alienation and disappointment is proof that enduring features of patriarchy and capitalism still need to be abolished. Ross Douthat New York Times, Star Tribune, "The meaning of Amy Coney Barrett in the arc of feminism," 28 Sep. 2020 While Trump was clearly more pro-Putin than Clinton, the goal was less a Trump win as much as sowing distrust and alienation. Mark Kennedy, Star Tribune, "Review: 'Agents of Chaos,' from Russia, but not with love," 21 Sep. 2020 That would only accelerate the trends of uniformity, statism, and alienation, frustrating our long-range aims. Andy Smarick, National Review, "In Defense of Proceduralism," 17 Sep. 2020

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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Time Traveler for alienation

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

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Statistics for alienation

Last Updated

21 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Alienation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Oct. 2020.

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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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