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

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
Recent Examples on the Web Like many Angelenos, the answer was inevitable for Wang and her architect husband: Build an ADU. Los Angeles Times, 17 May 2022 Experts say deaths were all but inevitable from a new virus of such severity and transmissibility. New York Times, 14 May 2022 Estrangement within families is a tragedy—perhaps inevitable in cases of abuse, but avoidable in so many clashes of pride. Arthur C. Brooks, The Atlantic, 12 May 2022 Actually, politics wasn’t inevitable for Franken until the plane-crash death of Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone, his friend, in 2002. James Sullivan,, 11 May 2022 So taking out student loans was inevitable for Brown, 40, who dreamt of becoming an optometrist. Claretta Bellamy, NBC News, 11 May 2022 Given the recent race to leverage BNPL as a payment option for the holidays, an expansion of BNPL is inevitable in the U.S. Andrew Gilboy, Forbes, 22 Apr. 2022 Carol Lam, a former federal prosecutor, wrote that the pressure to bring cases, and law enforcement’s crude understanding of science, made dubious prosecutions inevitable. The New Yorker, 14 Mar. 2022 These ever more complex trade-offs are inevitable with A.I. Theodoros Evgeniou, Fortune, 4 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

22 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Inevitable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for inevitable


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

More from Merriam-Webster on inevitable

Nglish: Translation of inevitable for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of inevitable for Arabic Speakers


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