adjective in·ev·i·ta·ble \ i-ˈne-və-tə-bəl \
|Updated on: 13 Jul 2018

Definition of inevitable

: incapable of being avoided or evaded
  • an inevitable outcome


play \i-ˌne-və-tə-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun


play \i-ˈne-və-tə-bəl-nəs\ noun

Examples of inevitable in a Sentence

  1. 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 ChabonNew York Times Magazine6 May 2007
  2. 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 ZorichDiscoverFebruary 2006
  3. The Vikings disappeared, but the Inuit survived, proving that human survival in Greenland was not impossible and the Vikings' disappearance not inevitable. —Jared M. DiamondCollapse2005
  4. getting wet is inevitable if you are going to try to give your dog a bath

Recent Examples of inevitable from the Web

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.

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.”

Origin and Etymology of inevitable

Middle English, from Latin inevitabilis, from in- + evitabilis evitable

INEVITABLE Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of inevitable for English Language Learners

  • : sure to happen

INEVITABLE Defined for Kids


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

Definition of inevitable for Students

: sure to happen : certain
  • It was inevitable that the clash for leadership should come.
  • —Jack London, The Call of the Wild


\-blē\ adverb

Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!


to hasten

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Test Your Emoji Exceptionalism

  • test-your-emoji-exceptionalism-written-with-a-lot-of-emoji
  • What is this emoji intended to represent: 🤳
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!