ineluctable

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by mathman, Feb 10, 2021.

  1. mathman Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,828
    "Ineluctable" seems to be almost synonymous with "inevitable", but I feel there is a subtle difference, which I find hard to express. Can anyone clarify?
     
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  3. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    15,398
    They do seem to be interchangeable and are used as such in a lot of cases. Though there are some cases where it seems they are not. To-wit:

    Lee has the irritating habit of arguing his opinions as ineluctable facts. ...

    This application of word mean is not synonymous with inevitable so much as it is synonymous with incontrovertible.
     
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  5. sculptor Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    7,537
    root word has to do with avoidance via struggle
    so ineluctable would = cannot be avoided by struggle
     
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  7. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    8,976
    Both mean "unable to be avoided" (as does unavoidable... too many words for the same thing!!

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    ) but I think the etymology might help here.
    Inevitable comes from evitare, meaning to avoid, whereas ineluctable comes from eluctari, meaning to struggle out of.
    So I'd see inevitable being about something in the future, whereas ineluctable is to do with a current or past position. So for example, something like: "it was inevitable that Tom would go to jail for his crime, even though his circumstances at the time were ineluctable."

    But DaveC's and sculptor's answers are probably better.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  8. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    15,398
    :like:
     
  9. mathman Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,828
    Thanks. I remember when I first encountered "ineluctable". When I was in college I decided to read Joyce's Ulysses and hit it around page 30(?) and I got completely stuck.
     
  10. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    8,976
    You got that far!! You're a far better man than I!

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     

Share This Page