in·​ev·​i·​ta·​ble | \ i-ˈne-və-tə-bəl How to pronounce inevitable (audio) \

Essential Meaning of inevitable

: sure to happen the inevitable result Some criticism was inevitable. [=unavoidable]

Full Definition of inevitable

: incapable of being avoided or evaded an inevitable outcome

Other Words from inevitable

inevitability \ i-​ˌne-​və-​tə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce inevitable (audio) \ noun
inevitableness \ i-​ˈne-​və-​tə-​bəl-​nəs How to pronounce inevitable (audio) \ noun

Absolutely Inevitable (Or Not)

Inevitable can occasionally be found used as a noun (“the inevitable had come to pass”), but more frequently it is encountered as an adjective. Some, in fact, would classify this word not only as an adjective, but as a special kind: the absolute adjective. Absolute adjectives permit little or no variation, and cannot (in the view of some) be used in the comparative or superlative form. For instance, a person may be dead or not, but cannot be the deadest among other dead people. This neat classification seems logical enough, yet it does not apply in all situations. After all, we often speak of things as dead in a non-biological sense; can a ball that is dead (not fully inflated) be deader than another ball? Of course it can. Similar attempts to impose the "absolute" label have been made in the case of inevitable. Some consider it improper to modify the word, arguing that “almost inevitable” is illogical. Yet these two words have been successfully paired together since at least 1576, when Abraham Flemming, in a translation of Cicero, wrote, “in what snares (almost ineuitable) of vnluckinesse we be intangled.”

Examples of inevitable in a Sentence

The captain of archers fidgeted and coughed and rolled his eyes at his men, as if such cupidity and dishonor were an inevitable but minor aspect of the human predicament … — Michael Chabon, New York Times Magazine, 6 May 2007 In a society that has gold-plated everything from hubcaps to teeth, it was perhaps inevitable that someone would find a way to add some bling to bacteria. — Zach Zorich, Discover, February 2006 The Vikings disappeared, but the Inuit survived, proving that human survival in Greenland was not impossible and the Vikings' disappearance not inevitable. — Jared M. Diamond, Collapse, 2005 getting wet is inevitable if you are going to try to give your dog a bath
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Recent Examples on the Web Following the poor results of last week’s elections for Democrats, with inflation rising, winter approaching, and the US’s largest trading party now furious with it over Line 5, Biden finally bowed to the inevitable. Daniel Markind, Forbes, 15 Nov. 2021 If he is freed, the status quo of America’s flawed criminal justice system, in which white offenders are less likely to be convicted, can remain just a little bit longer, the inevitable merely delayed, if not denied. NBC News, 10 Nov. 2021 The holiday season of eating is just around the corner and with it comes the inevitable, if mostly enjoyable, parade of rich foods. Washington Post, 6 Nov. 2021 The Astros’ comeback from a 4-0, first-inning deficit in Game 5 could’ve been a classic but turned into another four-hour slog that only delayed the inevitable. Paul Sullivan,, 3 Nov. 2021 The modern baseball fan is best advised to accept the inevitable. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, 31 Oct. 2021 Those at the tip were falling into the river, while those in back awaited the inevitable. Tik Root, Anchorage Daily News, 29 Oct. 2021 The question lingered in the background until 2019, when the inevitable happened and Ms. Reece inherited the property. New York Times, 8 Oct. 2021 Some of the usual suspects don't seem too keen on holding up the inevitable and making the markets nervous, but this still needs to play out. Lauren Fox, CNN, 7 Oct. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'inevitable.' 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 inevitable

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for inevitable

Middle English, from Latin inevitabilis, from in- + evitabilis evitable

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Time Traveler for inevitable

Time Traveler

The first known use of inevitable was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

30 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Inevitable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for inevitable


in·​ev·​i·​ta·​ble | \ i-ˈne-və-tə-bəl How to pronounce inevitable (audio) \

Kids Definition of inevitable

: sure to happen : certain It was inevitable that the clash for leadership should come.— Jack London, The Call of the Wild

Other Words from inevitable

inevitably \ -​blē \ adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on inevitable

Nglish: Translation of inevitable for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of inevitable for Arabic Speakers


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