in·​ev·​i·​ta·​ble i-ˈne-və-tə-bəl How to pronounce inevitable (audio)
: incapable of being avoided or evaded
an inevitable outcome
inevitability noun
inevitableness noun

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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 America owned the semiconductor industry after Texas Instruments and Fairchild Semiconductor separately invented the chip in the late 1950s, but the technology’s worldwide spread was inevitable. Geoff Colvin, Fortune, 8 Apr. 2024 Through analyzing the current market state, Mahalingam realized a worldwide eruption of AI and high-tech is inevitable, encouraging companies to harmonize their systems with the pace of technology. Hilary Tetenabaum, USA TODAY, 5 Apr. 2024 See all Example Sentences for inevitable 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'inevitable.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near inevitable

Cite this Entry

“Inevitable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


in·​ev·​i·​ta·​ble in-ˈev-ət-ə-bəl How to pronounce inevitable (audio)
: impossible to avoid or evade : sure to happen : certain
the inevitable result
inevitableness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on inevitable

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