Definition of alienation in English:

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Pronunciation: /eɪlɪəˈneɪʃ(ə)n/


[mass noun]
1The state or experience of being alienated: a sense of alienation from our environment unemployment may generate a sense of political alienation
More example sentences
  • A culture's excitement about the web is directly proportional to that culture's alienation from its everyday experience.
  • That's why it has excited our culture beyond any reasonable expectation: It helps to heal our alienation from our own experience.
  • Perhaps for all of them, the experience of exile led to a sense of alienation from their homeland, and to a growing feeling of pessimism about the prospects for change there.
isolation, detachment, estrangement, distance, separation, severance, parting, division, divorce, cutting off, turning away, withdrawal;
variance, difference, schism
1.1(In Marxist theory) a condition of workers in a capitalist economy, resulting from a lack of identity with the products of their labour and a sense of being controlled or exploited.
Example sentences
  • But the rhetoric of Marxist exploitation and alienation does not speak to the needs of non-labourers, and may indeed oppose them.
  • Each chapter takes a detailed and wide-ranging look at aspects of Marxist theory such as alienation, oppression, the family and class struggle.
  • On thing Marx is known for is his theory of worker alienation.
1.2 Psychiatry A state of depersonalization or loss of identity in which the self seems unreal, thought to be caused by difficulties in relating to society and the resulting prolonged inhibition of emotion.
Example sentences
  • In other words, they try to keep their addiction secret and suffer low self esteem and alienation as a result.
  • The result is alienation, depersonalization, and degradation of the human purpose.
  • Amotivation represents the lowest possible level of self-determination, as it implies a loss of personal control and alienation akin to learned helplessness.
1.3 (also alienation effect) An effect sought by some dramatists, whereby the audience remains objective and does not identify with the actors.
Example sentences
  • And, through that shock or that alienation effect, you're induced to rethink certain conditions.
  • As the process is reflected upon, an effect of Brechtian alienation occurs, and the naturalization of genre is dismantled.
  • In Henry V, the character of the Chorus serves as much to establish an effect of alienation as to plunge the audience into the fiction.
2 Law The transfer of the ownership of property rights: most leases contain restrictions against alienation
More example sentences
  • I think this Court has said on a couple of occasions that alienation is critical to ownership.
  • The covenant is concerned with alienation of the property.
  • I am not satisfied that an alienation or transfer of property, in and of itself, is a sufficient basis on which to imply a trust of that property.
transfer, conveyance, passing on, handing over, devolution


Late Middle English: from Latin alienatio(n-), from the verb alienare 'estrange', from alienus (see alien). The term alienation effect (1940s) is a translation of German Verfremdungseffekt.

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Line breaks: alien|ation

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