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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to cause to be withdrawn or isolated from the objective world: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
  • Our purpose in producing these plays was not deliberately to alienate an audience.
  • Someone stop me before I alienate anyone else who could be on our side.
  • In just a few hours he managed to alienate every single person he encountered.
  • They urge us to break down the barriers that alienate us from nature.
  • You're really starting to alienate your reader base.
  • The competent, workmanlike retelling of Presley's life won't alienate fans, but neither will it spark debate.
  • Though his work is heavily conceptual, it is not designed to alienate—and is often very funny.
  • Most schools don't want to alienate alumni, especially alumni donors.
  • Meanwhile, political uncertainty could also alienate foreign donors who have been eager to support the fledgling democracy.
  • Investors fear the move will alienate advertisers and regulators.
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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