in·​vi·​o·​la·​ble | \(ˌ)in-ˈvī-ə-lə-bəl \

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 \ noun
inviolableness \(ˌ)in-​ˈvī-​ə-​lə-​bəl-​nəs \ noun
inviolably \(ˌ)in-​ˈvī-​ə-​lə-​blē \ 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 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 The right to live as a stranger among strangers, with an inviolable sanctity of personal affairs against government or corporate intrusion, is a relatively new concept. Antonio García Martínez, WIRED, "How Facebook Binds, and Shatters, Communities," 11 May 2018 Family dinner hour was inviolable and all remained at the round dinner table until dessert was complete., "Edgar H. McCulloch Jr.," 22 Apr. 2018 The inviolable contract language prohibits legislators from reducing, changing or repealing parts of employees' benefits; removing this for new teachers means lawmakers can make adjustments to those employees' retirement plans. Mandy Mclaren, The Courier-Journal, "Gov. Matt Bevin signs controversial, GOP-crafted pension reform bill into law," 10 Apr. 2018 Moreover, inviolable contracts could promote fairness and equity, since politically connected factions would not be able to gain an advantage through legislative interference. James W. Ely Jr. And, WSJ, "The Supreme Court’s Chance to Rebuild a ‘Constitutional Bulwark’," 18 Mar. 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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The first known use of inviolable was in the 15th century

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English Language Learners Definition of inviolable

: too important to be ignored or treated with disrespect


in·​vi·​o·​la·​ble | \in-ˈvī-ə-lə-bəl \

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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