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See also: aliénation



From Middle English alienacioun, borrowed from Old French alienacion, itself borrowed from Latin aliēnātiōnem.


  • IPA(key): [ˌeɪli.əˈneɪʃən]
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -eɪʃən


alienation (usually uncountable, plural alienations)

  1. The act of alienating.
    The alienation of that viewing demographic is a poor business decision.
    • 1897, James D. Richardson, A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents[1]:
      That the mode of alienating their lands, the main source of discontent and war, should be so defined and regulated as to obviate imposition and as far as may be practicable controversy concerning the reality and extent of the alienations which are made.
    • 1965 August, Mississippi Phil Ochs, “The Newport Fuzz Festival”, in The Realist[2], number 61, retrieved 2022-11-13, page 11:
      Wearing an Audie Murphy black jacket, playing a Chuck Berry guitar, and performing his electrified alienation with passionate indifference, Dylan assassinated the audience.
  2. The state of being alienated.
    Synonym: estrangement
    • 1874, Edward Bannerman Ramsay, Reminiscences of Scottish Life and Character[3]:
      I refer to the state of our divisions and alienations of spirit on account of religion.
    • 1967, Guy Debord, “Chapter 6”, in Ken Knabb, transl., The Society of the Spectacle, section 161:
      As Hegel showed, time is the necessary alienation, the terrain where the subject realizes himself by losing himself, becomes other in order to become truly himself. In total contrast, the current form of alienation is imposed on the producers of an estranged present. In this spatial alienation, the society that radically separates the subject from the activity it steals from him is in reality separating him from his own time.
  3. Emotional isolation or dissociation.
    • 1797, An English Lady, A Residence in France During the Years 1792, 1793, 1794 and 1795[4], 2nd edition:
      But these domestic alienations are not confined to those who once moved in the higher orders of society--the monthly registers announce almost as many divorces as marriages, and the facility of separation has rendered the one little more than a licentious compact, which the other is considered as a means of dissolving.
    • 1992 October 2, Jonathan Rosenbaum, “The Road to Overload”, in Chicago Reader[5]:
      To watch it even once is to be distracted, but in an evocative and resonant manner--to be drawn away from Benning's travels and alienations and reminded of one's own.
  4. (theater) Verfremdungseffekt.
  5. (property law) The transfer of property to another person.
    • 1768, William Blackstone, “Of Title by Alienation”, in Commentaries on the Laws of England:
      The most usual and universal method of acquiring a title to real estates is that of alienation, conveyance, or purchase in it's limited sense: under which may be comprized any method wherein estates are voluntarily resigned by one man, and accepted by another; whether that be effected by sale, gift, marriage settlement, devise, or other transmission of property by the mutual consent of the parties.

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Middle English[edit]



  1. Alternative form of alienacioun