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

The Age of Exploration was drawing to its inevitable close, and the final races were on. David James, Anchorage Daily News, "In 'To the Edges of the Earth,’ a look at the people who pushed human exploration to its limits," 22 June 2019 And as the pick is made, as the inevitable becomes reality, the cheers resume and the balloons shoot into the air and the drinks are downed rapidly. Brody Miller, nola.com, "New Orleans gets its guy in Zion Williamson, and New Orleans loves its guys," 21 June 2019 Deferring payments on a bankrupt teacher pension plan only delays the system’s inevitable collapse. Bob Stefanowski, WSJ, "Connecticut’s Blue Politicians Spill an Ocean of Red Ink," 14 June 2019 Comparisons with his older brother are inevitable, but Ethan has also been walking on youth football's hallowed ground. SI.com, "Ethan Mbappé: 5 Things to Know About Kylian's Younger Brother in Paris Saint-Germain's Academy," 17 Sep. 2019 The signs so far from the Trump Administration have led some Palestinians to believe U.S. support is inevitable for Israel to formally annex Area C of the West Bank, where most Israeli settlements lie. Dalia Hatuqa / Ramallah, Time, "'Less Space to Breathe.' How Palestinians Are Responding to Netanyahu’s West Bank Annexation Plans," 13 Sep. 2019 As an African nationalist in Rhodesia, ruled by Ian Smith in the name of white supremacy, jail was inevitable. The Economist, "Obituary: Robert Mugabe died on September 6th," 12 Sep. 2019 But one thing was certain during difficult, protracted negotiations — a bankruptcy filing by Purdue was inevitable. New York Times, "Purdue Pharma Tentatively Settles Thousands of Opioid Cases," 11 Sep. 2019 Fortunately for the Trojans, the Pac-12 Hotline has been pondering possible replacements for Swann for weeks — because Swann’s departure was inevitable. Jon Wilner, Orange County Register, "USC needs an athletic director: 6 potential candidates," 9 Sep. 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

19 Oct 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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