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 inevitable (audio) \ noun
inevitableness \ i-​ˈne-​və-​tə-​bəl-​nəs How to pronounce inevitable (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 Democrats will control the Senate after Jan. 20 and their leader, Sen. Chuck Schumer, said Republicans can only delay the inevitable. Tom Benning, Dallas News, "House impeaches Trump for inciting insurrection, one week after riot at Capitol," 13 Jan. 2021 After nearly 30 years in Hollywood, Alicia Silverstone has finally accepted the inevitable: Getting up for 4 a.m. call times will never get easier. Jessica Radloff, Glamour, "Alicia Silverstone Says This $26 Sleep Mask Turned Her Into a Believer," 18 Dec. 2020 His time was coming, and the power brokers at Auburn were done waiting on the inevitable. Joseph Goodman |, al, "Auburn sends powerful message in firing Gus Malzahn," 13 Dec. 2020 Delaying the inevitable, even by a year or two, was something the Chargers could do in San Diego. Dylan Hernández Columnist, Los Angeles Times, "Column: Chargers’ ongoing problems threaten to make them a permanent joke in L.A.," 13 Dec. 2020 Democrats have said that the president and his supporters are stalling the inevitable despite earlier calling for all votes to be counted. Paul Bedard, Washington Examiner, "New claim: Constitution does not require hasty Electoral College vote, check fraud first," 5 Dec. 2020 City-wide or state-wide lockdowns were too big a price to pay and would only delay the inevitable. Arunabh Saikia, Quartz India, "Should Indian states consider more lockdowns even as a last resort?," 26 Nov. 2020 Delaying the inevitable until Harden and/or Westbrook depart via blockbuster trades?, "Smith: Rockets’ plan remains hard-to-solve mystery," 18 Nov. 2020 Acknowledging the inevitable, Demetrius changed out of his royal getup, put on street clothes, and sneaked out of his tent. Daniel Mendelsohn, Town & Country, "The Etiquette of Defeat: What Donald Trump Can Learn From History’s Biggest Losers," 17 Nov. 2020

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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Time Traveler for inevitable

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for inevitable

Last Updated

22 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Inevitable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for inevitable


How to pronounce inevitable (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of inevitable

: sure to happen


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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