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

Keep scrolling for more

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 British singer’s misfit allure connected with legions of fans, from punks and nerds to LGBTQ folks and Mexican Americans, who saw their own alienation in his melancholy lyrics. Baltimore Sun Staff,, "Bigmouth strikes again: Morrissey’s racist rhetoric inspires boycott ahead of Merriweather Post Pavilion show," 4 Sep. 2019 Much of AO3’s story is a story of alienation, of being an online outsider. Aja Romano, Vox, "4.7 million fanfics are now Hugo winners, thanks to AO3 and the transformative culture that built it.," 19 Aug. 2019 Analysts say this has helped fuel militancy and a general sense of alienation, especially among young Kashmiris. CNN, "Indian parliament votes to change Kashmir's status and give New Delhi more control over contested region," 6 Aug. 2019 Too much emphasis on the self can lead to obnoxious egotism, or desperate loneliness or alienation and paranoia. Michael Dirda, Washington Post, "What the ‘Resistance Library’ shows us about America’s struggles today," 28 Aug. 2019 An initial sense of shock over the revocation of Article 370 is giving way to alienation and anger. Riyaz Wani, Quartz India, "After three weeks of lockdown, this is what Kashmir looks like," 22 Aug. 2019 Although the painting’s lone subject, a blonde woman clad in a red dress and black heels, looks directly at the viewer, her gaze seems to elude, reinforcing the sense of alienation endemic to the artist’s oeuvre. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Thanks to the Hopper Hotel Experience, You Can Now Spend a Night at the Museum," 16 Aug. 2019 For him, the risk of constant documentation is alienation: a sense that our bodies are generating still moments rather than constant movement. Nausicaa Renner, The New Yorker, "How Social Media Shapes Our Identity," 8 Aug. 2019 The process of alienation and disengagement from school often takes root at the beginning of middle school. Belinda Luscombe, Time, "These Academics Spent $1.35 To Make Middle School Less Awful. Here's How.," 30 July 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about alienation

Statistics for alienation

Last Updated

18 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for alienation

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


to spread over or through

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!