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[eyl-yuh-neyt, ey-lee-uh-] /ˈeɪl yəˌneɪt, ˈeɪ li ə-/
verb (used with object), alienated, alienating.
to make indifferent or hostile:
By refusing to get a job, he has alienated his entire family.
to cause to be withdrawn or isolated from the objective world:
Bullying alienates already shy students from their classmates.
to turn away; transfer or divert:
to alienate funds from their intended purpose.
Law. to transfer or convey, as title, property, or other right, to another:
to alienate lands.
Origin of alienate
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English < Latin aliēnātus (past participle of aliēnāre), equivalent to aliēn(us) alien + -ātus -ate1
Related forms
alienator, noun
nonalienating, adjective
realienate, verb (used with object), realienated, realienating.
unalienated, adjective
unalienating, adjective
1. See estrange. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for alienate
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • This tends to alienate public sympathy, and to forfeit the aid which sympathy insures.

  • I sell you the secret, but I do not intend to alienate my rights to the placer.

    Wood Rangers Mayne Reid
  • These are rights which no human being can alienate to the state.

  • Indeed, neglect and abuse seem insufficient to alienate these allies.

    The Indian Question (1874) Francis A. Walker
  • Nothing but his free and formal promise, obtained in return for favours received, can alienate that right.

    The River War Winston S. Churchill
British Dictionary definitions for alienate


/ˈeɪljəˌneɪt; ˈeɪlɪə-/
verb (transitive)
to cause (a friend, sympathizer, etc) to become indifferent, unfriendly, or hostile; estrange
to turn away; divert: to alienate the affections of a person
(law) to transfer the ownership of (property, title, etc) to another person
Derived Forms
alienator, noun
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
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Word Origin and History for alienate

1540s, "make estranged" (in feelings or affections), from Latin alienatus, past participle of alienare "to make another's, estrange," from alienus "of or belonging to another person or place," from alius "(an)other" (see alias (adv.)). Related: Alienated; alienating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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