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

Flamel was a deep background character in Rowling’s Harry Potter novels, and his arrival here seems both inevitable and like an in-joke for readers in the know. Tasha Robinson, The Verge, "Even for the Harry Potter hardcore, Crimes of Grindelwald is one convoluted movie," 8 Nov. 2018 Nations have delayed curbing their greenhouse gas emissions for so long that warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) is now all but inevitable. Nadja Popovich, The Seattle Times, "Why half a degree of global warming is a big deal," 9 Oct. 2018 The countless hours on the court and the traveling for matches makes that almost inevitable. Andrew Hussey, Indianapolis Star, "From North Central to Wabash to the NCAA tennis championships," 21 May 2018 Here are some of the most probing passages Bernstein ever penned, the work’s melodic progress at once surprising and inevitable. Howard Reich, chicagotribune.com, "CSO at Ravinia review: Marin Alsop poetically launches Bernstein tribute," 13 July 2018 Ticket reseller StubHub and restaurant delivery service Grubhub finally enjoy their inevitable pairing. David Pogue, Scientific American, "Megamergers I’d Like to See," 13 July 2018 Selling rare diamonds to Russian gangsters probably isn’t the safest segment of the high-end industry, although gem dealer Lucas Hill (Reeves) seems resigned to the inevitable risks of the black market trade. Justin Lowe, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Siberia': Film Review," 13 July 2018 The excitement of club football had been deemed superior to the inevitable disappointment of international football, until the 2018 World Cup. SI.com, "How Social Media Helped Create a Positive Atmosphere for England to Thrive in During World Cup Run," 12 July 2018 Their aim, Mr Power says, was to create a distilled English version that would speak to a London audience, many of whom will have an intimate knowledge of the financial crisis that is the drama’s inevitable denouement. The Economist, "On stage, the saga of the Lehman brothers is a parable of America," 12 July 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

16 Nov 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

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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Comments on inevitable

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