Inviolable vs inviolate

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Inviolable and inviolate are two words that are close in pronunciation and spelling. They are somewhat interchangeable, but there is a slight difference in their connotations. We will examine the definitions of inviolable and inviolate, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Inviolable describes something that is never to be infringed upon, something that is immune from desecration, a breach or intrusion. Inviolable describes something that is impossible to violate or it is expressly forbidden to violate. Related words are inviolability and inviolably. The word inviolable is derived from inviolabilis which means not violated.

Inviolate describes something not infringed upon, something not desecrated, breached or intruded upon. Inviolate describes something that has not been violated or intruded upon, while inviolable describes something impossible to intrude upon or expressly forbidden to be intruded upon. Related words are inviolacy, inviolateness, inviolately. The word inviolate is derived from the Latin word inviolatus meaning not injured.


And while a willingness to question your premise is Critical Thinking 101, that particular premise is regarded as sacred and inviolable by far too many of us. (The Durham Herald Sun)

Pitt argues that Beshear’s complaint includes allegations the bill represents a violation of the so-called inviolable contract (a statutory guarantee of certain retiree benefits) and a complete overhaul of the pension system without explaining how or why. (The Richmond Register)
In this misguided and historically myopic view of patriotism, you’re only an American if you accept the status quo as inviolate, and refrain from the audacity of believing our country can and should move toward a more just, equitable society. (The Duncan Banner)
McCain said, “When the American people elect a leader to govern the affairs of our great nation, our respect for their authority must remain inviolate.” (The Washington Post)