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

First recorded in 1610–20; in-3 + alienable

historical usage of inalienable

OTHER WORDS FROM inalienable

in·al·ien·a·bil·i·ty, in·al·ien·a·ble·ness, nounin·al·ien·a·bly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does inalienable mean?

Inalienable describes things, especially rights, that cannot be taken away, denied, or transferred to another person.

Inalienable means the same thing as unalienable, which is no longer in common use. However, unalienable is closely associated with the phrase unalienable rights due to its appearance in the U.S. Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Thomas Jefferson actually used inalienable in early drafts of the Declaration of Independence, but the spelling was changed for the final draft. Unalienable was the preferred spelling until around the 1830s, but inalienable has completely replaced it in regular use.

Alienable is a word, but it’s rarely used. It means able to be sold or transferred.

Example: We work to make the founders’ words true—that everyone has the inalienable right to freedom.

Where does inalienable come from?

The first records of the word inalienable come from the early 1600s. It is formed from the prefix in-, meaning “not,” and alienable, which comes from the Latin verb aliēnāre, meaning “to transfer by sale.”

If something is inalienable, it’s “not for sale”—it isn’t going anywhere. Regardless of its preferred spelling, the word has always been used in a legal context. It’s most commonly used to describe rights that people believe cannot be denied to them or taken away from them by their government. Such rights involve things other than freedom, such as the ownership of property.

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What are some synonyms for inalienable?

What are some words that share a root or word element with inalienable

What are some words that often get used in discussing inalienable?

How is inalienable used in real life?

Inalienable is closely associated with rights and the Declaration of Independence, even though it uses the word unalienable.



Try using inalienable!

Which of the following words is NOT a synonym of inalienable?

A. unalienable
B. inherent
C. optional
D. absolute

How to use inalienable in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for inalienable

/ (ɪnˈeɪljənəbəl) /

not able to be transferred to another; not alienablethe inalienable rights of the citizen

Derived forms of inalienable

inalienability 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