- The definition of alienate is when a person turns those who once cared into people who no longer care, either by making others feel angry and/or by causing them to ignore a person.
- An example of alienate is when a family member has been abusing drugs, and their behavior has caused the rest of the family to no longer be able to tolerate having them around.
- An example of alienate is when someone tells all your friends that you lied to them and your friends no longer speak to you.
transitive verbalienated, alienating
- to transfer the ownership of (property) to another
- to make unfriendly; estrange: his behavior alienated his friends
- to cause to be withdrawn or detached, as from one's society
- to cause a transference of (affection)
Origin of alienate; from Classical Latin alienatus, past participle of alienare ; from alius, other: see else
transitive verbal·ien·at·ed, al·ien·at·ing, al·ien·ates
- To cause to become unfriendly or hostile; estrange: alienate a friend; alienate potential supporters by taking extreme positions.
- To cause to become withdrawn or unresponsive; isolate or dissociate emotionally: The numbing labor tended to alienate workers.
- To cause to be transferred; turn away: “He succeeded &ellipsis; in alienating the affections of my only ward” (Oscar Wilde).
- Law To transfer (property or a right) to the ownership of another, especially by an act of the owner rather than by inheritance.
Origin of alienateLatin aliēnāre, aliēnāt-, from Latin aliēnus, alien; see alien.
(third-person singular simple present alienates, present participle alienating, simple past and past participle alienated)
Alienate is largely synonymous with estrange. However, alienate is used primarily to refer to driving off (“he alienated her with his atrocious behavior”) or to offend a group (“the imprudent remarks alienated the urban demographic”), while estrange is used rather to mean “cut off relations”, particularly in a family setting.