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 in the following century. The 17th century English playwright Shackerley Marmion made good use of violable in A Fine Companion, 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 the Latin verb violare, which both shares the meaning with, 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 Or that art may be the last untrodden and inviolable way of the psyche remaining to us? John Ganz, Harper's Magazine, 22 May 2024 Further, in recent weeks, many universities have demonstrated that norms are not an inviolable constraint on their actions, dispensing with preexisting practices regarding student speech and protest — or even rewriting official rules — so as to discipline Pro-Palestinian advocacy. Eric Levitz, Vox, 15 May 2024 Under the Vienna treaties, embassies and diplomatic premises are considered foreign soil and inviolable. Muri Assunção, New York Daily News, 7 Apr. 2024 Only once that is built can the world provide justice to all those who have died and suffered in the war—and reaffirm the prohibition against war as an inviolable rule of the international order. Oona A. Hathaway, Foreign Affairs, 17 Jan. 2023 See all Example Sentences for inviolable 

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 21 Jul. 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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