in·​vi·​o·​la·​ble (ˌ)in-ˈvī-ə-lə-bəl How to pronounce inviolable (audio)
: secure from violation or profanation
an inviolable law
: secure from assault or trespass : unassailable
inviolable borders
inviolableness noun
inviolably 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 Pakistan will continue to take all necessary steps to preserve the safety and security of its people which is sacrosanct, inviolable and sacred. Elizabeth Pritchett, Fox News, 18 Jan. 2024 What cues will America’s adversaries take if an Iranian satrap is allowed to establish an inviolable sphere of influence off Yemen’s coasts? The Editors, National Review, 20 Dec. 2023 The more things change, the more things stay the same, appeared to be the proposition of two Wall Street insiders on the current entertainment landscape and the inviolable position of sports within it. Patrick Frater, Variety, 3 Oct. 2023 Legal rights once thought to be inviolable suddenly appear vulnerable. Michael Smolens, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10 Sep. 2023 The same kind of dangerous myth-making about legal norms that made Roe v. Wade seem inviolable is what got us here, and what further enables the right’s all-out, deeply unpopular assault on our rights. Melissa Gira Grant, The New Republic, 12 Apr. 2023 Agriculture’s claim to the Colorado is inviolable, if only because the irrigated fields of the basin provide so much of our food. Wade Davis, Rolling Stone, 3 Sep. 2023 That was the inviolable edict AP Political Editor Donna Cassata circulated in 2006 to her team which included me, an editorial assistant. Philip Elliott, Time, 29 June 2023 Today, hawkish politicians and corporate media have made modern entanglements — Covid and the proxy war against Russia in Ukraine — unapproachable, inviolable movie subjects. Armond White, National Review, 17 May 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'inviolable.' 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 Middle French or Latin; Middle French, from Latin inviolabilis, from in- + violare to violate

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near inviolable

Cite this Entry

“Inviolable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


in·​vi·​o·​la·​ble (ˈ)in-ˈvī-ə-lə-bəl How to pronounce inviolable (audio)
: too sacred to be violated
an inviolable oath
: incapable of being harmed or destroyed by violence
an inviolable fortress
inviolably adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on inviolable

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