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

Everyone's favorite lovebirds have a super cute moment where Jamie gives Claire a medical kit and gets romantic, but then things things take a turn for the inevitable. Mehera Bonner, Harper's BAZAAR, "Claire and Jamie Find Trouble in America in Outlander's Dramatic Premiere Episode," 5 Nov. 2018 Ibrahim plays the gesture as automatic: not angry, not cowering, just reflexively bracing her body for the inevitable hit. Brendan Kiley, The Seattle Times, "For all its horrors, ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ at Seattle Rep feels uncomfortably comforting," 15 Oct. 2018 Remember, cosmic warriors, eclipses simply speed up the inevitable. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What Your Sign's August 2018 Horoscope Predictions Mean for You," 30 July 2018 The interior of the Kicks is attractive enough, although the almost exclusive use of hard plastic on the dash and door panels reflects the inevitable cost-cutting at this price point. Al Haas, Philly.com, "Nissan's Kicks is a cute, useful hatchback, not a crossover," 5 July 2018 When the inevitable happy ending ties The President is Missing together in a bow, President Duncan makes a rousing speech to the American people. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "In Bill Clinton’s New Thriller, the Final Villain is Feminism," 8 June 2018 With the new line, Crayola is both meeting a demand and bowing to the inevitable. Chris Morris, Fortune, "Crayola Launches Makeup Line," 6 June 2018 The team then runs green LEDs around each layer to make the kegs (and inevitable snow) glow. James Lynch, Popular Mechanics, "A Brewery in Upstate New York Made a 30-Foot Keg Christmas Tree," 10 Dec. 2018 While the detonation of a nuke seemed inevitable, one day after the official game release, a group of Fallout 76 players has already fought in the most difficult armageddon possible. Patricia Hernandez, The Verge, "Fallout 76’s first end-game nuke launches, starts apocalyptic battle," 15 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

12 Jan 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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