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

The book’s quirky examples are best understood not as a blueprint but rather as part of the author’s argument that certain principles held inviolable may deserve a second look. Oren Cass, WSJ, "‘The Job’ Review: Of Callings and Careers," 22 Oct. 2018 The charter insists that the right to freedom of religion and conscience, rooted in the inviolable dignity of every human person, is not the gift of any government. William A. Galston, WSJ, "Freedom of Belief Bridges America’s Divides," 11 Dec. 2018 From the legacy of the victims arises Germany’s responsibility to stand up for the inviolable dignity of humankind – everywhere and every day. Vanessa Gera, The Seattle Times, "German foreign minister honors Nazi victims at Auschwitz," 20 Aug. 2018 The bloc’s leaders say free internal migration should be all but inviolable, a view growing numbers of voters reject since the 2015 migration crisis. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The Road to a Bad Brexit," 10 Dec. 2018 The concept of seeking sanctuary in churches dates back centuries and, in England, provided inviolable protection from the law until the 1600s. Jake Maxwell Watts, WSJ, "Catholic Church Opens Sanctuaries to the Hunted in Philippines Drug War," 5 July 2018 The governor’s lawyer has said Minton can appoint a special judge from among those judges who took office since 2014 and are in a new type of pension plan that has no inviolable contract protection. Tom Loftus, The Courier-Journal, "Matt Bevin takes fight with judge in pension case to higher office," 6 June 2018 And while a willingness to question your premise is Critical Thinking 101, that particular premise is regarded as sacred and inviolable by far too many of us. Leonard Pitts Jr., miamiherald, "With gun violence unabated, who wants to be the last student to die before politicians act? | Miami Herald," 22 May 2018 Countless companies are working to make privacy on blockchain inviolable. Shawn Owen, Fortune, "Worried About Your Data Privacy? Blockchain Could Help," 27 June 2018

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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Last Updated

28 May 2019

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

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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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What made you want to look up inviolable? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


behavior toward others

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