in·​vi·​o·​la·​ble | \ (ˌ)in-ˈvī-ə-lə-bəl How to pronounce inviolable (audio) \

Definition of inviolable

1 : secure from violation or profanation an inviolable law
2 : secure from assault or trespass : unassailable inviolable borders

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Other Words from inviolable

inviolability \ (ˌ)in-​ˌvī-​ə-​lə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce inviolable (audio) \ noun
inviolableness \ (ˌ)in-​ˈvī-​ə-​lə-​bəl-​nəs How to pronounce inviolable (audio) \ noun
inviolably \ (ˌ)in-​ˈvī-​ə-​lə-​blē How to pronounce inviolable (audio) \ adverb

Did You Know?

Inviolable is a venerable word that has been with us since the 15th century. Its opposite, "violable" ("capable of being or likely to be violated") appeared a century later. The English playwright Shackerley Marmion made good use of "violable" in A Fine Companion in 1633, writing, "Alas, my heart is Tender and violable with the least weapon Sorrow can dart at me." But English speakers have never warmed up to that word the way we have to "inviolable," and it continues to be used much less frequently. Both terms descend from Latin violare, which both shares the meaning and is an ancestor of the English word violate.

Examples of inviolable in a Sentence

a person with inviolable moral standards an inviolable trust between lawyer and client
Recent Examples on the Web Satellite phones and charter flights penetrate the formerly inviolable geography, and climbers on Mt. Everest have access to Wi-Fi at seventeen thousand six hundred feet. Akash Kapur, The New Yorker, "Can We See Past the Myth of the Himalaya?," 18 Jan. 2021 The first — that experimenters can choose what measurements to perform — would seem inviolable. Quanta Magazine, "A New Theorem Maps Out the Limits of Quantum Physics," 3 Dec. 2020 This left an opening for Trump to ignore a series of supposedly inviolable Republican bromides. Nicholas Lemann, The New Yorker, "The Republican Identity Crisis After Trump," 23 Oct. 2020 The inviolable power of private property defines the actions and attitudes that can create and destroy communities; in liberal enclaves like New York, this is done with language. Apoorva Tadepalli, The New Republic, "The Rhetorical Weapons of Liberal Nimbyism," 14 Sep. 2020 Hence, the nation to them is not all holy, a thing inviolate and inviolable, a thing that a man dare not sell or dishonour on pain of eternal perdition. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, "Is Nationalism Curative or Fatal?," 7 Sep. 2020 That means cyclists around the world may be blessed with truly inviolable locks for the first time ever. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "This New, Non-Cuttable Material Is Virtually Indestructible," 20 July 2020 Despite this, the borders of the Qing dynasty have not proven completely inviolable under republican rule. James Griffiths, CNN, "From the Qing Empire to the People's Republic, China's worries about separatism run deep," 29 June 2020 Both Virginia lawsuits argue that the land donors’ original wishes are inviolable. Allison Anna Tait, The Conversation, "Latest legal hurdle to removing Confederate statues in Virginia: The wishes of their long-dead white donors," 19 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'inviolable.' 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 inviolable

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for inviolable

Middle English, from Middle French or Latin; Middle French, from Latin inviolabilis, from in- + violare to violate

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The first known use of inviolable was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

3 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Inviolable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for inviolable



English Language Learners Definition of inviolable

formal : too important to be ignored or treated with disrespect


in·​vi·​o·​la·​ble | \ in-ˈvī-ə-lə-bəl How to pronounce inviolable (audio) \

Kids Definition of inviolable

1 : too sacred to be broken or denied an inviolable oath
2 : impossible to harm or destroy by violence an inviolable fortress

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