4 votes

Inalienable and unalienable mean precisely the same thing.

The final version of the Declaration of Independence uses the word "unalienable." Some earlier drafts used the word "inalienable," which is the term our modern dictionaries prefer. The two words mean precisely the same thing.

The unalienable rights that are mentioned in the Declaration of Independence could just as well have been inalienable, which means the same thing. Inalienable or unalienable refers to that which cannot be given away or taken away.

Trending on the Web

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
fireant's picture

In simple terms,

we know our rights, as defined within the Constitution, are from a higher power than the government we created, and the Constitution was designed in order to deter that same government from attempting to infringe upon those rights.
We also know, human nature being what it is, that government will always attempt to increase power and infringe upon our rights, and it is the duty of the People, originators of the Constitution, to occasionally remind government, arming ourselves with the Constitution, it may not infringe upon our rights.
Finely woven "legal" arguments, parsing minutiae, are simply attempts to disenfranchise us from our rights. They have no place in the simple understanding of our Constitution, and it's anchor, the Declaration.

Undo what Wilson did

A Game of Thrones?

Your comment is what Constitutional Expert Extraordinaire, Prez Obama, calls NEGATIVE RIGHTS. But his kind don't believe in individual rights - only Govt Rights.

Not just a few Monarchs have lost their heads for that kind of 'divine' arrogance.

Just saying...let's stand up for this huge difference between IN- and UN-.

The root of the main word - LIEN - is very important. But not more important than the prefix given it!

Otherwise, changing the meaning of words, redefining words, as well as, political correct language, is just a Game of Thrones.

EX: When Sen. Feinstein told Sen. Cruz "...We are not 'prohibiting' guns. We're 'exempting' guns..."? That immature reasoning went right over everyone's heads...including Cruz's. What part of "shall NOT infringe" do these two not understand?

Language is not a Game of Thrones, guys. Don't let's take it as such.

"If you want something you've never had before, you have to do something you've never done before." Debra Medina

usually mispronounced as well

The root of the word is "lien", as in to encumber... not "alien" as in ET. Technically, the word shoul be pronounced un-a-LIEN-able.

Tomayto, tomahto

The dispute over inalienable and unalienable:


“It is the food which you furnish to your mind that determines the whole character of your life.”
―Emmet Fox

OK, but where are your sources?

Your statement sounds reasonable, but could you back it up with some references so we can verify?

Really glad you brought this up - those two lettered prefixes

make a world of difference if NOT = UNderstood. And I'm pretty sure the Founders would say these two words are UN/NOT (in-)terchangable!

Why would there exist two prefixes, (in-) and (un-), instead of one or the other, if they indeed meant the exact same thing? Because they don't.

Ever hear Dr. Paul, or any Libertarian/Constitutionalist use (in-)alienable? Nope.
Never ever think of your (in-)herent rights as (in-)alienable! They are UNalienable!!


(in-) = to give the sense of in, into, towards, within. /: Not inherent because (in-)alienable rights CAN BE surrendered, sold, or transferred - with consent. (BTW. That's why it's EN-/b>slaved...not IN-slaved.

(un-) = NOT Period. Unambiguous. Natural rights are inherent, (un-)alienable, therefore, CANNOT be surrendered, sold, sell, or transferred.

"If you want something you've never had before, you have to do something you've never done before." Debra Medina

break the word down further

"in a-lien able"
"un a-lien able"

It means they cannot put a "lien" on your inherent god given rights.

But that wont stop them from trying, especially when most people have forgotten, or have no understanding where these rights come from.


"Take hold of the future or the future will take hold of you." -- Patrick Dixon

Only UNalienable rights means cannot be sold, transferred...

IN-alienable rights CAN be. Ever heard of Civil Asset Forfeiture, NDAA, Patriot Act....? Govt likes to think our inherent rights are IN-alienable. Can be sold, transferred, surrendered.

It's up to us to refresh their memory. UN-alienable is unambiguous. It means only one thing. NOT!!!

"If you want something you've never had before, you have to do something you've never done before." Debra Medina

well yes and no

yes the correct pronunciation is un-a-lien-a-ble.

This word "also" refers to property rights which are the cornerstone of a republic.

Ron Paul is My President


Sorry iposted before scrolling down.