inevitable

adjective
in·​ev·​i·​ta·​ble | \ i-ˈne-və-tə-bəl How to pronounce inevitable (audio) \

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 How to pronounce inevitability (audio) \ noun
inevitableness \ i-​ˈne-​və-​tə-​bəl-​nəs How to pronounce inevitableness (audio) \ 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

Despite your best packing efforts, some wrinkles and creases are inevitable. Nicole Saporita, Good Housekeeping, "14 Genius Packing Tips to Help You Travel Like a Pro," 9 Apr. 2019 While some scratches are inevitable, others are definitely preventable. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "Here's Exactly How To Maintain Wood Floors," 23 Jan. 2019 Overcoming this is as simple (and complicated) as realizing that everything worth doing is hard and committing yourself to pushing past the inevitable roadblocks that come up. Anna Pulley, RedEye Chicago, "Ask Anna: Where can I make new friends?," 14 May 2018 Get caught without your bug spray just once and the inevitable happens: red, angry, itchy mosquito bites that take nearly superhuman willpower to avoid scratching. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "How to Get Rid of Mosquito Bites and Stop Itching ASAP," 18 Mar. 2019 Presumably these steps would be reversed once Mr. Abbas or a successor comes to the table, as seems inevitable given how much the Palestinians stand to gain. Daniel Pipes, WSJ, "Trump’s Mideast ‘Deal of the Century’ May Be a Raw One for Israel," 23 Jan. 2019 Afterward, a sliver of in-the-know attendees headed to an adjacent luxury high-rise, inside 15 Hudson Yards, for an inevitable after-party. Zachary Weiss, Vogue, "13,000 Guests Attended the Opening of Hudson Yards—Anne Hathaway and Gisele Included," 15 Mar. 2019 Inspired by his travels, Forster came to believe that a revolution in Europe was in the air, as inevitable as the sunrise over the shimmering Pacific. Christoph Irmscher, WSJ, "‘Georg Forster’ Review: In Search of Earthly Paradise," 22 Feb. 2019 The movie brought in almost a billion dollars worldwide, which meant another sequel was basically inevitable. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Awkwafina Will Be in the 'Jumanji' Sequel, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson Confirms on Twitter," 6 Jan. 2019

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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Statistics for inevitable

Last Updated

20 Apr 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 How to pronounce inevitable (audio) \

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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