\ ˌī-(ˌ)är-ˈā How to pronounce IRA (audio) ; ˈī-rə How to pronounce IRA (audio) \
plural IRAs

Definition of IRA

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a retirement savings account in which income taxes on certain deposits and on all gains are deferred until withdrawals are made

Definition of IRA (Entry 2 of 2)

Irish Republican Army

Examples of IRA in a Sentence

Abbreviation a representative of the IRA

First Known Use of IRA


1974, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for IRA


individual retirement account

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Statistics for IRA

Last Updated

12 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“IRA.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Apr. 2020.

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Financial Definition of IRA

What It Is

An Individual Retirement Account (IRA) is a government sponsored, tax-deferred personal retirement plan.

How It Works

An IRA can also be referred to as a Traditional IRA.

In order to open an IRA, an individual must first establish an account with a bank, brokerage firm or mutual fund company. These firms then act in the capacity of a fiduciary. The individual is responsible for establishing the IRA and selecting the plan investments. Once the account has been established, the individual can contribute a maximum of several thousand dollars per year into an IRA. The IRA plan, which was established in 1974 by Congress, has been an extremely popular retirement savings plan for workers for over thirty years.

Taxes on Traditional IRA contributions and earnings are deferred until the account owner takes a distribution from the IRA. When money is withdrawn from a Traditional IRA it is taxed as regular income. Withdrawals are typically made when or after the plan owner has reached the age of 59 1/2. If the plan owner withdraws money from the account prior to retirement age, then he/she will incur a 10% penalty payable to the IRS (unless specific circumstances apply).

Why It Matters

An IRA is among several options Americans have when planning for retirement. The best option differs from one individual to another, so it is important for those planning for retirement to consider all of their options. To view an article going more in depth on IRAs as well as shedding light on a similar plan, a Roth IRA, click here.

Source: Investing Answers


How to pronounce IRA (audio) How to pronounce IRA (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of IRA

US : a special account in which you can save and invest money for your retirement without having to pay taxes on the money until a later time


\ ˌī-ˌär-ˈā, ˈī-rə How to pronounce IRA (audio) \

Legal Definition of IRA

: an account in which a person may deposit up to a stipulated amount each year and that is not taxable until retirement or early withdrawal

Note: Deposits to an IRA may not be completely or partially deductible from adjusted gross income if one's income exceeds a set level.

History and Etymology for IRA

individual retirement account

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More from Merriam-Webster on IRA

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with IRA

Spanish Central: Translation of IRA

Britannica English: Translation of IRA for Arabic Speakers

Comments on IRA

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