[ in-eyl-yuh-nuh-buhl, -ey-lee-uh- ]
/ ɪnˈeɪl yə nə bəl, -ˈeɪ li ə- /


not transferable to another or not capable of being taken away or denied; not alienable: inalienable rights, freedoms, and liberties; an inalienable territory; inalienable principles and values.

Origin of inalienable

First recorded in 1610–20; in-3 + alienable
SYNONYMS FOR inalienable
Related formsin·al·ien·a·bil·i·ty, in·al·ien·a·ble·ness, nounin·al·ien·a·bly, adverb

Word story Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for inalienability

  • In the West we have systems such as that of the homestead, based on the inalienability of the family property (bien de famille).

    The Shield|Various
  • Neither Solon nor Lycurgus taught the inalienability of human rights.

    The Anti-Slavery Examiner, Omnibus|American Anti-Slavery Society
  • Inalienability being foreign to the discussion, the long word inalienable only encumbers the sentence.

    The Verbalist|Thomas Embly Osmun, (AKA Alfred Ayres)
  • The idea of consent is also revolutionary—but the moment "inalienability" is granted, consent to be governed must follow.

    Proclaim Liberty!|Gilbert Seldes

British Dictionary definitions for inalienability


/ (ɪnˈeɪljənəbəl) /


not able to be transferred to another; not alienablethe inalienable rights of the citizen
Derived Formsinalienability or inalienableness, nouninalienably, adverb
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

Word Origin and History for inalienability



1640s, from in- (1) "not, opposite of" + alienable (see alienate). Related: Inalienably; Inalienability.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper