ir·​re·​duc·​ible | \ ˌir-i-ˈdü-sə-bəl How to pronounce irreducible (audio) , -ˈdyü-\

Definition of irreducible

1 : impossible to transform into or restore to a desired or simpler condition an irreducible matrix specifically : incapable of being factored into polynomials of lower degree with coefficients in some given field (such as the rational numbers) or integral domain (such as the integers) an irreducible equation
2 : impossible to make less or smaller an irreducible minimum

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from irreducible

irreducibility \ ˌir-​i-​ˌdü-​sə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce irreducibility (audio) , -​ˌdyü-​ \ noun
irreducibly \ ˌir-​i-​ˈdü-​sə-​blē How to pronounce irreducibly (audio) , -​ˈdyü-​ \ adverb

Examples of irreducible in a Sentence

They thought the world was made up of four irreducible elements: earth, air, fire, and water.

Recent Examples on the Web

The space-time discrepancy ultimately results in an irreducible level of noise in the position and momentum of particles, consistent with the uncertainty principle. Quanta Magazine, "Physicists Eye Quantum-Gravity Interface," 31 Oct. 2013 That said, some scientists are waiting for an irreducible final theory. Peter Byrne, Quanta Magazine, "Waiting for the Revolution," 24 May 2013 But some say that simply revealing the rules is insufficient, because formal criteria can never capture the irreducible moral and political decisions moderators make. The Economist, "The unacknowledged legislators of the online world," 14 June 2019 The major hurdle is that time perception is complex, irreducible, and distributed across the brain and body. Josh Wilbur, WIRED, "You Could Live Forever With This Sci-Fi Time Hack," 4 June 2019 Each brought a special joy, an irreducible quirk, a unique, surprising eccentricity. Mark Oppenheimer, WSJ, "Yes, We Really Do Want to Have a Fifth Child," 24 Aug. 2018 These are texts, finally, to read and revisit, lean, oracular, irreducible. Dustin Illingworth,, "Elusive leaps of grace and daring: Rachel Cusk's 'Kudos'," 31 May 2018 This is a week to remember your irreducible weirdness, your unknowable messiness, your desires, your angles, your light. Claire Comstock-gay, The Cut, "Madame Clairevoyant: Horoscopes for the Week of May 7," 7 May 2018 Good art is irreducible to attitudes, and great art demolishes them. Naomi Fry, The New Yorker, "“Like Life” Shows Seven Hundred Years of the Body," 24 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'irreducible.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of irreducible

1633, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about irreducible

Statistics for irreducible

Last Updated

15 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for irreducible

The first known use of irreducible was in 1633

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for irreducible



English Language Learners Definition of irreducible

formal : not able to be made smaller or simpler


ir·​re·​duc·​ible | \ ˌir-i-ˈd(y)ü-sə-bəl How to pronounce irreducible (audio) \

Medical Definition of irreducible

: impossible to bring into a desired or normal state an irreducible hernia

Other Words from irreducible

irreducibility \ -​ˌd(y)ü-​sə-​ˈbil-​ət-​ē How to pronounce irreducibility (audio) \ noun, plural irreducibilities

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on irreducible

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with irreducible

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for irreducible

Spanish Central: Translation of irreducible

Nglish: Translation of irreducible for Spanish Speakers

Comments on irreducible

What made you want to look up irreducible? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


an act or instance of editing or removing

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!