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 time that produced Mr. Trump has proved to be another one, a moment when the unthinkable has become routine and precepts that once seemed inviolable have been tested. Peter Baker, New York Times, "A President Impeached, and a Nation Convulsed," 18 Dec. 2019 Nothing is more swoon-worthy than his inviolable sense of respect for Grace, not just as a woman, but as a human being. Maureen Lee Lenker,, "Hot Stuff: Five new romances tackle the struggle to feel deserving of love," 3 Dec. 2019 Others said they were driven to defend national sovereignty, a principle as central and inviolable in Chinese society as the idea of freedom in the United States. Los Angeles Times, "Beijing whips up NBA anger, then winds it down, disappointing Chinese nationalists," 17 Oct. 2019 Geraldine Ferraro was running for Vice President, and the Times’ inviolable house style insisted on an honorific. Adam Rogers, WIRED, "Actually, Gender-Neutral Pronouns Can Change a Culture," 15 Aug. 2019 Apparently, bureaucrats believe that school district lines constitute inviolable barriers like those of nation-states that buses should not be allowed to cross. Tyler Sandberg, The Denver Post, "Sandberg: Democrats shut down one pathway of school choice for Colorado students," 16 July 2019 Bullying in the workplace is not uncommon in Japan, where many companies remain deeply hierarchical and relationships between superiors and subordinates are seen as inviolable. Isabella Steger, Quartz at Work, "Japan finally passed laws to prevent “pawa hara,” or workplace bullying," 30 May 2019 And lurking within, at the foot of the holy mountain known as Nanda Devi, lies an inviolable Shangri-la of golden grassland, silent but for the rumble of avalanches and the plaintive bleats of wild sheep. National Geographic, "Why the world’s most daunting mountains inspire me," 11 Apr. 2019 Yet quantum systems, as ever, have a way of introducing puzzling exceptions to what seem like inviolable rules. Quanta Magazine, "Quantum Correlations Reverse Thermodynamic Arrow of Time," 2 Apr. 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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Time Traveler for inviolable

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

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Last Updated

24 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Inviolable.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 19 January 2020.

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More Definitions for inviolable


How to pronounce inviolable (audio)

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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Comments on inviolable

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to insert between existing elements

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