inevitable

adjective
in·​ev·​i·​ta·​ble | \ i-ˈne-və-tə-bəl \

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 \ noun
inevitableness \ i-​ˈne-​və-​tə-​bəl-​nəs \ 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

Fortunately for me, the incredibly unhealthy relationship ran its inevitable course. Shirley Manson, New York Times, "Shirley Manson: The First Time I Cut Myself," 3 July 2018 Maybe Junior had trouble handling his inevitable removal from the stage. Nick Canepa, sandiegouniontribune.com, "May 3, 2012: Farewell, Junior Seau," 3 May 2018 The Cleveland Cavaliers basketball player and estranged partner of Khloé Kardashian has officially been unfollowed by the Queen Bee of the Kardashian hive, Kim Kardashian West, which marks his inevitable shunning from the famous family. Morgan Baila, refinery29.com, "Tristan Thompson Hears Kim Kardashian Loud & Clear," 1 May 2018 When managing cost is in the hands of a third party such as Medicare or another insurer, profound waste is inevitable. WSJ, "Third-Party Payers Muddy Drug Incentives," 10 Jan. 2019 In all the excitement, a hiccup or two is inevitable. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and the Next Generation of Congresswomen Takes Office," 3 Jan. 2019 That means some smoke and a funky burning smell are inevitable. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "How to Clean an Oven Quickly and Painlessly," 18 Dec. 2018 Now, a certain level of working the refs is inevitable in a democratic system. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "The Wisconsin power grab is part of a bigger Republican attack on democracy," 6 Dec. 2018 But these disappointments are inevitable, part of the process. Alejandro Jodorowsky, ELLE Decor, "A Conversation Between Hotelier Alan Faena and Filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky," 14 Nov. 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

9 Feb 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 \

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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