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 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 Grief, alienation, loneliness and anger seem everywhere. Ted Anthony, Anchorage Daily News, "Virus America, six months in: Disarray, dismay, disconnect," 14 Sep. 2020 At its best, the show sensitively explored the alienation of its characters, notably members of the Fisher family, who are trying to find something approaching contentment even as they’re surrounded by the deceased. oregonlive, "TV’s new Golden Age: 8 modern classics that helped make TV the center of the culture," 26 Aug. 2020 Yet, as Giovanna soon realizes, the lies designed by their literary culture are too reductive to give meaning to her quest to understand her sudden alienation from her life. Merve Emre, The Atlantic, "Elena Ferrante’s Master Class on Deceit," 8 Aug. 2020 Begun by Edgar Degas in August 1858, likely finished the following year, and revised around 1867, the large canvas is actually a complex, unusually candid depiction of the tensions, emotions and alienation within a nuclear family. Judith H. Dobrzynski, WSJ, "Detonating the Nuclear Family," 7 Aug. 2020 Lockdown, as seen in her film, is characterized not by alienation, but by close, even mystical alignment with the body in its many folding, extending, stretching forms. Washington Post, "The Baltimore Museum of Art’s Screening Room is a dynamic new platform for artists and ideas," 1 July 2020 These films highlight the structural neglect, social alienation, institutional poverty, political disenfranchisement, and rampant racial violence that grips urban post-industrial communities. Samantha N. Sheppard, The Atlantic, "The Films That Understand Why People Riot," 9 June 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

27 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Alienation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Sep. 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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