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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Union officials have said such a death was inevitable because of short staffing and the forced overtime that guards are working. Devlin Barrett, Anchorage Daily News, "After Epstein’s death, attorney general replaces leader at Bureau of Prisons," 19 Aug. 2019 Given the framework within which removals under the Group Areas Act took place in Cape Town, a social disaster was inevitable. Don Pinnock, Quartz Africa, "Cape Town’s bloody gang violence is deeply rooted in its racist history," 16 Aug. 2019 Once the iPhone came into being, and became a container for music, the iPod’s demise was inevitable. Nikil Saval, The New Yorker, "For Better and Worse, We Live in Jony Ive’s World," 2 July 2019 Still, painful scheduling conflicts are inevitable. Piet Levy, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The 5 worst scheduling conflicts at Summerfest 2019 in Milwaukee, and which shows you should pick," 24 June 2019 Given the government’s vast resources, recovery at some point was inevitable. Chicago Tribune, Twin Cities, "Other voices: In praise of ingenuity: America’s record economic expansion," 23 June 2019 Her research proved that the tragedy of the commons is not inevitable. Ellen Mcgirt, Fortune, "About The Tragedy Of The Digital Commons: RaceAhead," 12 June 2019 Despite your best packing efforts, some wrinkles and creases are inevitable. Nicole Saporita, Good Housekeeping, "14 Genius Packing Tips to Help You Travel Like a Pro," 9 Apr. 2019 Given its recent explosion in popularity, the backlash against sparkling water was inevitable. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "Is Sparkling Water Bad for You in Some Way?," 5 Apr. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about inevitable

Statistics for inevitable

Last Updated

24 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for inevitable

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).

WORD OF THE DAY

to make or get by devious means

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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