Definition of alienate in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈeɪlɪəneɪt/


[with object]
1Make (someone) feel isolated or estranged: an urban environment which would alienate its inhabitants (as adjective alienated) an alienated, angst-ridden twenty-two-year-old
More example sentences
  • What we have are two things going on: One, a society in which our children are alienated and isolated.
  • No matter how much you talk about global effects or global capitalism, some people are very alienated and isolated in this world.
  • Both characters feel alienated by their environment, which leads them to plough a gentle furrow of despair.
estrange, turn away, set apart, drive apart, isolate, detach, distance, put at a distance;
set against, part, separate, cut off, sever, divide, divorce, disunite, set at variance/odds, make hostile to, drive a wedge between, sow dissension
1.1Make (someone) become unsympathetic or hostile: the association does not wish to alienate its members
More example sentences
  • The experience will drive him away from his deaf parents and alienate him from an unsympathetic hearing world
  • Orchin's difficulty was that to make the association more attractive to members he risked alienating the patrons who subsidized its activities.
  • I choose to be loyal to my values and to alienate my team members.
2 Law Transfer ownership of (property rights) to another person or group: they defended the Masai against attempts to alienate their land
More example sentences
  • Consequently, unless the plaintiff alienated his ownership, he has been the owner of the case since it came into being.
  • Ever since the 1290 statute it has been a principle of the law that generally an estate owner should have a free and unfettered power to alienate his property.
  • The ultimate purpose of the acquisitions is to enable the Territory to validly alienate Crown land in the manner that is stated in the notices of proposed acquisition.
transfer, convey, pass on, hand over, devolve


alienate someone's affections

US Law Induce someone to transfer their affection from a person (such as a spouse) with legal rights or claims on them: he sued him for alienating his wife’s affections
More example sentences
  • The waif seemed eager to get inside, but I didn't want to alienate her affections if she had a home.
  • Austerity and sternness will alienate his affections, and severe words will sting him to the quick.
  • The young man, in his efforts to extricate the young woman from her problems, manages to alienate her affections while arousing the enmity of her powerful protector.





Early 16th century: from Latin alienat- 'estranged', from the verb alienare, from alienus 'of another' (see alien).

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: alien|ate

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.