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.

Example Sentences

the ineluctable approach of winter had many worried about the cost of heating their homes
Recent Examples on the Web Smith is well-known as a top-shelf song crafter and engaging performer, and this song is yet another testament to her ineluctable talents. Jessica Nicholson, Billboard, 20 Jan. 2023 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 The discussions involve the morality of violence, the nature of true forgiveness, the question of male nature, and the ineluctable responsibility borne even by men of the colony who weren’t among the attackers. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 6 Jan. 2023 And the ineluctable fact that nations battle hard over resources such as multibillion-dollar piles of cash is one reason that clever technocratic designs like the Afghan Fund have failed in the past. Steve Coll, The New Yorker, 14 Sep. 2022 The choice of Colescott to represent the United States at the 1997 Venice Biennale initiated a general surrender to his ineluctable power, though most of America’s upper-crust institutions have yet to capitulate. Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, 18 July 2022 There is an ineluctable emotional stamp on the incipit of just about all of Brahms’ mature chamber works — the opening seconds set an affective tone that can last the entire piece. Lukas Schulze, San Diego Union-Tribune, 26 Aug. 2022 The Communist Party in China, like the Soviet one before it, is just buying time until the eventual ineluctable reckoning with freedom. WSJ, 18 Aug. 2022 Indexes offer the reader multiple ways in and through the text, freeing them from the confines of an ineluctable narrative. Alexandra Horowitz, The Atlantic, 16 Mar. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ineluctable.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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 6 Feb. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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