[ eyl-yuh-ney-shuhn, ey-lee-uh- ]
See synonyms for alienation on
  1. the act of alienating, or of causing someone to become indifferent or hostile: The advocacy group fights against prejudice and social alienation of immigrants.

  2. the state of being alienated, withdrawn, or isolated from the objective world, as through indifference or disaffection: the group's alienation from mainstream society.

  1. the act of turning away, transferring, or diverting: the alienation of land and resources from African peoples.

  2. Law. a transfer of the title to property by one person to another; conveyance.

  3. Statistics. the lack of correlation in the variation of two measurable variates over a population.

Origin of alienation

1350–1400; Middle English <Latin aliēnātiōn- (stem of aliēnātiō), equivalent to aliēnāt(us) (see alienate) + -iōn--ion

Other words from alienation

  • al·ien·a·tive, adjective
  • non·al·ien·a·tion, noun
  • re·al·ien·a·tion, noun

Words Nearby alienation Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use alienation in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for alienation


/ (ˌeɪljəˈneɪʃən, ˌeɪlɪə-) /

  1. a turning away; estrangement

  2. the state of being an outsider or the feeling of being isolated, as from society

  1. psychiatry a state in which a person's feelings are inhibited so that eventually both the self and the external world seem unreal

  2. law

    • the transfer of property, as by conveyance or will, into the ownership of another

    • the right of an owner to dispose of his property

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Cultural definitions for alienation


[ (ay-lee-uh-nay-shuhn) ]

A feeling of separation or isolation. In social science, alienation is associated with the problems caused by rapid social change, such as industrialization and urbanization (see Industrial Revolution), which has broken down traditional relationships among individuals and groups and the goods and services they produce.

Notes for alienation

Alienation is most often associated with minorities, the poor, the unemployed, and other groups who have limited power to bring about changes in society.

Notes for alienation

Marxism holds that workers in capitalist nations are alienated because they have no claim to ownership of the products they make.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.