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 inevitable (audio) \ noun
inevitableness \ i-​ˈne-​və-​tə-​bəl-​nəs How to pronounce inevitable (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 Roybal understood that Dodger Stadium was inevitable. Eric Nusbaum, Los Angeles Times, "The roots of the 20 Years War between the Dodgers and L.A.’s Mexican community," 6 May 2021 Regardless, said Dombi, change in the industry is inevitable. Laura Romero, ABC News, "Long-term care industry facing changes as pandemic pushes more families toward home care," 6 May 2021 While the occasional vacuum mishap is inevitable, the best vacuum cleaners put these woes to bed. Don Reisinger, Forbes, "The 9 Best Vacuums For Winning The Battle Against Pet Hair, Dust And Allergens," 4 May 2021 After three months of battling supply shortages and distribution bottlenecks, the Biden administration is confronting a problem that the president said was inevitable: Many of those who were most eager to get vaccinated have already done so. New York Times, "Biden Shifts Vaccination Strategy in Drive to Reopen by July 4," 4 May 2021 But this isn't inevitable; pandemics aren't natural disasters. Dr. Tom Frieden, CNN, "Don't be blinded by the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel," 2 May 2021 That means a further shift to the last meaningful source of funding left, deposits direct from home buyers, is inevitable. Mike Bird, WSJ, "Beijing’s Squeeze on Fragile Real-Estate Developers Is Getting Real," 29 Apr. 2021 If the need to administer NFTs makes NFTs inevitable, that's a loss. Rick Prelinger, Wired, "NFTs and AI Are Unsettling the Very Concept of History," 20 Apr. 2021 But at the end of the day, its design makes liberalizations inevitable. Lanhee J. Chen, STAT, "A public option for health insurance could be a disaster, especially in times of crisis," 12 Feb. 2021

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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Time Traveler for inevitable

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for inevitable

Last Updated

10 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Inevitable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 May. 2021.

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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

Comments on inevitable

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