in·​ev·​i·​ta·​ble | \ i-ˈne-və-tə-bəl How to pronounce inevitable (audio) \

Definition of inevitable

: incapable of being avoided or evaded an inevitable outcome

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Other Words from inevitable

inevitability \ i-​ˌne-​və-​tə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce inevitability (audio) \ noun
inevitableness \ i-​ˈne-​və-​tə-​bəl-​nəs How to pronounce inevitableness (audio) \ noun

Absolutely Inevitable (Or Not)

Inevitable can occasionally be found used as a noun (“the inevitable had come to pass”), but more frequently it is encountered as an adjective. Some, in fact, would classify this word not only as an adjective, but as a special kind: the absolute adjective. Absolute adjectives permit little or no variation, and cannot (in the view of some) be used in the comparative or superlative form. For instance, a person may be dead or not, but cannot be the deadest among other dead people. This neat classification seems logical enough, yet it does not apply in all situations. After all, we often speak of things as dead in a non-biological sense; can a ball that is dead (not fully inflated) be deader than another ball? Of course it can. Similar attempts to impose the "absolute" label have been made in the case of inevitable. Some consider it improper to modify the word, arguing that “almost inevitable” is illogical. Yet these two words have been successfully paired together since at least 1576, when Abraham Flemming, in a translation of Cicero, wrote, “in what snares (almost ineuitable) of vnluckinesse we be intangled.”

Examples of inevitable in a Sentence

The captain of archers fidgeted and coughed and rolled his eyes at his men, as if such cupidity and dishonor were an inevitable but minor aspect of the human predicament … — Michael Chabon, New York Times Magazine, 6 May 2007 In a society that has gold-plated everything from hubcaps to teeth, it was perhaps inevitable that someone would find a way to add some bling to bacteria. — Zach Zorich, Discover, February 2006 The Vikings disappeared, but the Inuit survived, proving that human survival in Greenland was not impossible and the Vikings' disappearance not inevitable. — Jared M. Diamond, Collapse, 2005 getting wet is inevitable if you are going to try to give your dog a bath
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Recent Examples on the Web

The timing of the comments — as Central Florida began a week of remembrance events three years after the Pulse shooting — was awkward, lawmakers acknowledged, but the request was likely inevitable. Kate Santich,, "onePULSE Foundation -- which is raising money for memorial -- should be audited, Central Florida lawmakers say," 10 June 2019 With the economy on an upward trajectory for an unprecedented decade-long run, a slowdown was inevitable at some point. NBC News, "'Game over': Big misses on jobs forecasts bring the costs of trade war into sharper focus," 7 June 2019 Eye of beholder The differing opinions on what’s a legitimate project and what’s not are inevitable in a state that has a multibillion-dollar backlog of bills and a $134 billion, worst-in-the-nation pension debt. Ray Long,, "Inside Illinois lawmakers’ pork-barrel frenzy: Pickleball courts, dog parks and clout," 7 June 2019 Doom was inevitable for the lake ferry system with the increasing popularity of the automobile and rail. Colin Diltz, The Seattle Times, "Before floating bridges, Lake Washington had a ferry fleet," 6 June 2019 In politics, nothing is inevitable but nothing is impossible. Luke Johnson, Fortune, "House Democrats Have a Decision to Make—Impeach Trump or Not?," 6 June 2019 This was probably inevitable either way, and Xi and the political class know it. Therese Shaheen, National Review, "China’s ‘New Long March’," 5 June 2019 AP Photo/Ben Margot Strong emotions are inevitable in today’s busy, stressful work world. Melody Wilding, Quartz at Work, "How to control your emotions when you’re at work," 3 June 2019 HBO Following Daenerys’ wild rampage on a dragon last week, Game of Thrones fans are predicting that her death is inevitable in the final episode. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Will Arya Stark and Grey Worm Kill Daenerys Targaryen on 'Game of Thrones'?," 17 May 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'inevitable.' 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 inevitable

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for inevitable

Middle English, from Latin inevitabilis, from in- + evitabilis evitable

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Statistics for inevitable

Last Updated

15 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for inevitable

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

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More Definitions for inevitable



English Language Learners Definition of inevitable

: sure to happen


in·​ev·​i·​ta·​ble | \ i-ˈne-və-tə-bəl How to pronounce inevitable (audio) \

Kids Definition of inevitable

: sure to happen : certain It was inevitable that the clash for leadership should come.— Jack London, The Call of the Wild

Other Words from inevitable

inevitably \ -​blē \ adverb

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Comments on inevitable

What made you want to look up inevitable? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to take the place or position of

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