What is the etymology of the word "inviolate" and where does it appear out of the context of privacy (as opposed to how Warren and Brandeis used it to help define privacy)?

For the full context please see my question here https://judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/6012/is-the-term-idea-inviolate-used-in-the-old-testament


I assume you're talking about the passage at http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/privacy/#PriHumDig

According to Bloustein, Warren and Brandeis failed to give a positive description of privacy, however they were correct that there was a single value connecting the privacy interests, a value they called “inviolate personality.”

Not being a lawyer, ethicist, or philosopher, it seems to me that the term is an attempt to abstract that part of an individual which holds a right to privacy - not everything we say or do is subject to privacy (for example, a public statement made by you can then be reported freely by anyone to anyone), but there is an 'inviolate' aspect of the individual (for example, a private conversation cannot be recorded without agreement by both parties).

Obviously, the exact extent of the 'inviolate personality' versus the 'public personality' is something rather vague, and a lot of time is spent in courts and governments concerning the protection of these privacies.


According to the Oxford English Dictionary, inviolate comes directly from the Latin inviolātus, which is composed of in-3 (expressing negation) + violātus.

In a religious context, it can be used to mean that the person is "of unbroken faith", but the OED marks this usage as obsolete. (Obviously, since you're discussing the Old Testament, its obsoleteness does not apply in that context).

  • 1
    Any thoughts on its usage within the context of privacy? – Jordan Feb 27 '11 at 14:13

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