inevitable

adjective
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

Afterward, a sliver of in-the-know attendees headed to an adjacent luxury high-rise, inside 15 Hudson Yards, for an inevitable after-party. Zachary Weiss, Vogue, "13,000 Guests Attended the Opening of Hudson Yards—Anne Hathaway and Gisele Included," 15 Mar. 2019 Inspired by his travels, Forster came to believe that a revolution in Europe was in the air, as inevitable as the sunrise over the shimmering Pacific. Christoph Irmscher, WSJ, "‘Georg Forster’ Review: In Search of Earthly Paradise," 22 Feb. 2019 The movie brought in almost a billion dollars worldwide, which meant another sequel was basically inevitable. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Awkwafina Will Be in the 'Jumanji' Sequel, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson Confirms on Twitter," 6 Jan. 2019 And, sometimes, a little burning is just inevitable. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "5 Signs Your Dry Eye Treatment Isn’t Working for You," 14 Dec. 2018 Considering that Nicks is embarking on a Fleetwood Mac reunion tour—sans Lindsey Buckingham, sadly—in late October, her social media journey was likely inevitable. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "Of Course Stevie Nicks Returns to Instagram With the Hair Trend of the Moment," 28 Aug. 2018 Volcanic explosions of temper are probably inevitable when a family is cooped up together inside a hunk of metal for days, or weeks. Alex Postman, Condé Nast Traveler, "What They Don't Tell You About Cross-Country Family Road Trips," 23 July 2018 Grab a few singles, snag a set, or do both — with a sale this good, the splurge is not only inevitable, it's encouraged. Tanisha Pina, Allure, "All The Candles That Are on Sale During the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale," 20 July 2018 Once lingering safety concerns are resolved, the longtime auto executive Bob Lutz — credited with leading the introduction of the Dodge Viper, the Pontiac GTO and other iconic models — sees autonomous cars as inevitable. Robert C. Yeager, New York Times, "When Cars Do the Driving, Who Will Feel the Joy?," 14 June 2018

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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Last Updated

23 Mar 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

inevitable

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of inevitable

: sure to happen

inevitable

adjective
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

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