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

The politicization of the budding maybe-scandal was inevitable, and some right-wing gabbers leapt to the unsupported theory of a Deep State conspiracy to clip Jordan’s wings right away. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump Believes ‘100 Per Cent’ in Jim Jordan’s Innocence in Sex Abuse Case. That’s Reassuring.," 5 July 2018 The changes, say business experts, are an inevitable consequence of Greater Miami's increasing cosmopolitan clout. Rene Rodriguez, miamiherald, "Lincoln Road keeps growing — and its small businesses keep closing," 25 June 2018 Instead, lifespan is probably limited by multiple factors, and these factors may even be an inevitable consequence of the molecular mechanisms of life. WSJ, "Is There a Limit to the Human Lifespan?," 24 June 2018 Others see the actions as an inevitable consequence of extreme public outrage at a policy that many see as deeply unethical and un-American, with shades of fascist ethnic warfare. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "Trump Press Secretary Sarah Sanders Kicked Out of Virginia Restaurant," 23 June 2018 But that's the inevitable consequence, as Nielsen and other Trump administration officials acknowledge. Salvador Rizzo, Anchorage Daily News, "The facts about Trump's policy of separating families at the border," 20 June 2018 But that’s the inevitable consequence, as Nielsen herself and other Trump administration officials acknowledge. Salvador Rizzo, Washington Post, "The facts about Trump’s policy of separating families at the border," 19 June 2018 Other analysts saw the sentiment of Droste’s posts as an inevitable consequence of indie-rock’s commercial decline in recent years. Bill Brownlee, kansascity, "Middle of Map Fest: Grizzly Bear to light up Crown Center stage," 1 June 2018 But Trump’s panic is the inevitable consequence of treating the current situation at the border as an unprecedented crisis — which Nielsen’s DHS, as well as the White House, has made a concerted effort to do. Dara Lind, Vox, "Donald Trump is reportedly furious that the US can’t shut down the border," 11 May 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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Phrases Related to inevitable

the inevitable

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Last Updated

7 Sep 2018

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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



English Language Learners Definition of inevitable

: sure to happen


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

What made you want to look up inevitable? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the setting in which something occurs

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