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

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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 Priorities of care, of friends and family — yes, those were altered to a degree, but writing is its own inviolable thing. Meredith Maran, Los Angeles Times, 16 Mar. 2022 According to Putin’s reading of history, the invasion would enshrine the inviolable unity of Ukraine and Russia. The New Yorker, 12 Mar. 2022 For example, the dignity of persons is an inviolable reality. Andrew T. Walker, National Review, 28 Feb. 2022 The report has forced the German Church to ponder its recent past, a period shaped by Ratzinger’s view of Catholic doctrine as inviolable and the Church as the last redoubt of order and stability in a rapidly changing world. Paul Elie, The New Yorker, 20 Feb. 2022 There are threats of violence, previously inviolable political spaces are invaded, and blood is shed. David A. Bell, The New York Review of Books, 4 Nov. 2021 This is the promise of crypto games, which would transform virtual objects into unique cryptocurrency tokens for users to keep in their digital wallets and possibly trade or move to other platforms as their inviolable properties. Boaz Sobrado, Wired, 19 Dec. 2021 But each represents a normative judgment that the Senate’s supermajority voting rules are the default position, not an inviolable requirement, and that some circumstances warrant deviating from that default. Kate Shaw, Time, 5 Nov. 2021 By contrast, Coltrane appeared hesitant to toy with A Love Supreme, as though his offering to God should remain intact, an inviolable record of his epiphany, if not a holy object in its own right. Adam Shatz, The New York Review of Books, 7 Oct. 2021 See More

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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Time Traveler for inviolable

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

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Dictionary Entries Near inviolable

in vino veritas



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Cite this Entry

“Inviolable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for inviolable


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

More from Merriam-Webster on inviolable

Nglish: Translation of inviolable for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of inviolable for Arabic Speakers


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