Definition of inviolable
- an inviolable law
- inviolable borders
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
a person with inviolable moral standards
an inviolable trust between lawyer and client
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.
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.
First Known Use: 15th centurySee Words from the same year
: too important to be ignored or treated with disrespect
What made you want to look up inviolable? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).
Merriam-Webster's New Words Quiz—Fall 2017 Edition!
Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.TAKE THE QUIZ
Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.TAKE THE QUIZ