in·​eluc·​ta·​ble ˌi-ni-ˈlək-tə-bəl How to pronounce ineluctable (audio)
: not to be avoided, changed, or resisted : inevitable
an ineluctable fate
ineluctability noun
ineluctably adverb

Did you know?

If you love grappling with language as much as we do, you’re sure to get a (flying) kick out of today’s word. Ineluctable, you see, has its roots in wrestling, a popular sport in ancient Greece and Rome. The Latin word lucator means “wrestler,” and luctari means “to wrestle,” as well as “to struggle, strive, or contend.” With the addition of e- (ex-) luctari became eluctari, meaning “to struggle clear of.” The negating prefix in- then piled on to form ineluctabilis, an adjective describing something that cannot be escaped or avoided. It is ineluctabilis that English speakers borrowed to form ineluctable, a word often used to describe fates that one cannot squirm free from, whether due to something as cosmic as the Fates themselves or as corporeal as a headlock.

Examples of ineluctable in a Sentence

the ineluctable approach of winter had many worried about the cost of heating their homes
Recent Examples on the Web Ever Seen' Civil War belongs more to the tradition of battle movies like The Thin Red Line or Apocalypse Now, in which war is the mysterious, ineluctable manifestation of the American will — perhaps its unconscious will. Tom Gliatto, Peoplemag, 11 Apr. 2024 Second, the history of third-party presidential candidacies is one of ineluctable failure. Mark Z. Barabak, Los Angeles Times, 4 Apr. 2024 A certain ineluctable logic governs this collision of worlds: television’s foremost fantasia of Birkin bags, spa days, private-jet travel, and real-life Malibu beach houses infiltrating the most plastic realm there is. Vulture, 15 Dec. 2023 What ineluctable vision, a vision writing was so far from comprehending? Rachel Cusk, Harper's Magazine, 10 Sep. 2023 Along the way to the movie’s ineluctable happy ending, Sammy is the beneficiary of lessons about the sacredness of his calling from Mitzi and other family members, including his elderly great-uncle Boris (Judd Hirsch), a onetime vaudeville performer and silent-film actor. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 15 Nov. 2022 An exhibition tells the story of the origins of Buddhist art and its ineluctable influence on the region and its history. WSJ, 16 July 2023 But drinking, and drinking hard, often seems an ineluctable part of distance-hiking and sports culture at large. Grayson Haver Currin, Outside Online, 30 Dec. 2022 Associated economic theories about the ineluctable rise of worldwide free market capitalism took on a similar sheen of invincibility and inevitability. Patricia Cohen, New York Times, 18 June 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ineluctable.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin ineluctabilis, from in- + eluctari to struggle clear of, from ex- + luctari to struggle, wrestle; akin to Latin luxus dislocated — more at lock

First Known Use

circa 1623, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of ineluctable was circa 1623


Dictionary Entries Near ineluctable

Cite this Entry

“Ineluctable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 May. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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