mid-15c., "that is to be kept without violation" (of an oath, etc.), from Latin inviolabilis "inviolable, invulnerable," from in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + violabilis "that may be injured, easily wounded," from violare "to do violence to" (see violation). Meaning "having a right or guaranty of immunity" (of a place of sanctuary, etc.) is from 1570s. Meaning "incapable of being injured" is from 1520s. Related: Inviolably.