Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To cause to become unfriendly or hostile; estrange: alienate a friend; alienate potential supporters by taking extreme positions. See Synonyms at estrange.
  • transitive v. To cause to become withdrawn or unresponsive; isolate or dissociate emotionally: The numbing labor tended to alienate workers.
  • transitive v. To cause to be transferred; turn away: "He succeeded . . . in alienating the affections of my only ward” ( Oscar Wilde).
  • transitive v. Law To transfer (property or a right) to the ownership of another, especially by an act of the owner rather than by inheritance.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Estranged; withdrawn in affection; foreign; with from.
  • n. A stranger; an alien.
  • v. To convey or transfer to another, as title, property, or right; to part voluntarily with ownership of.
  • v. To estrange; to withdraw affections or attention from; to make indifferent or averse, where love or friendship before subsisted; to wean.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Estranged; withdrawn in affection; foreign; -- with from.
  • transitive v. To convey or transfer to another, as title, property, or right; to part voluntarily with ownership of.
  • transitive v. To withdraw, as the affections; to make indifferent of averse, where love or friendship before subsisted; to estrange; to wean; -- with from.
  • n. A stranger; an alien.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To transfer or convey, as title, property, or other right, to another: as, to alienate lands or sovereignty.
  • To repel or turn away in feeling; make indifferent or averse, where love or esteem before subsisted; estrange: with from before the secondary object.
  • Synonyms To deliver over, surrender, give up.
  • To disaffect.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. transfer property or ownership
  • v. make withdrawn or isolated or emotionally dissociated
  • v. arouse hostility or indifference in where there had formerly been love, affection, or friendliness

Etymologies

Latin aliēnāre, aliēnāt-, from Latin aliēnus, alien; see alien.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Latin aliēnātus, perfect passive participle of aliēnō ("alienate, estrange"), from aliēnus. See alien, and confer aliene. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The disposition of the Howard estate had been a matter of particular concern to Henry VIII who considered the Howard estates too valuable to alienate from the crown. 15 Henry's intention had been to gift them to Prince Edward.

    From Heads of Household to Heads of State: The Preaccession Households of Mary and Elizabeth Tudor, 1516-1558

  • So while the labels alienate and lose their artists who provide their product, they are also managing to alienate and lose the customers who buy it.

    Ron Galloway: A Tale of Two Moms & the Music Industry

  • The one Hollywood consultant nobody in Democratic politics can afford to alienate is Andy Spahn.

    The Hollywood Campaign

  • So far as the Board of Governors of the CBC is concerned, its present policy is not to alienate from the public domain any broadcasting rights in television to privately-owned stations or other profit-making concerns!

    Television—Progress and Promise

  • If I hadn't stumbled on a link one day that led me to a snarky sarcastic blonde doing something that resemebled cable access on crack, I would never have made RB one of my daily fixes and BTY, I am one of those conservative viewers you told John Edwards you were trying to "alienate" - obviously it didn't work.

    For the Record

  • For every voting block they alienate, that is one more block they are giving to the dems.

    Think Progress

  • Hey, I'm all for cool action scenes in my SciFi, but -- if I may clarify the author's assumption -- stories that include inter-character relationships don't "alienate" me.

    Is Science Fiction Becoming 'Feminized'?

  • In the real world of human societies, however, human beings give up or "alienate" some rights - in particular, the right to initiate physical force - in exchange for governmental protection.

    JLF > John Hood's Daily Journal

  • The city has already obtained approval from the New York State Legislature to "alienate" the parkland, a necessary step because the property is being used for purposes other than parkland.

    Tonawanda News Homepage

  • There are the typical concerns that by committing to one company like this (although there is no contractual restrictions as to who either side could work with in addition to one another) then Omnicom could 'alienate' other companies like Yahoo or Microsoft.

    Andy Beal's Marketing Pilgrim

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