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

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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 And the songs reminded me of one of life's irreducible joys: that there is so much more to peak experiences than can be divined from a glance at a country's GDP. Teju Cole, Condé Nast Traveler, "In Mali, Music Is a Family Legacy," 21 Aug. 2020 There is real pain and irreducible violence in the music. Wright Thompson, National Geographic, "What the Mississippi Delta teaches me about home—and hope," 1 June 2020 This was the 1850s, immigrants were falling out of favor with American-borns, and race, in the form of slavery, was the irreducible foundation for all political discourse. Karl Vick, Time, "NPR's Steve Inskeep Finds the American Present in the Past Through His Books," 16 Jan. 2020 But in all of those formats, the secret, irreducible unit is the act. Adam Rogers, Wired, "Hollywood Bets On a Future of Quick Clips and Tiny Screens," 8 Jan. 2020 Yet, if the herd is dull, individuals are always complicated and conflicted, and therefore irreducible to broad generalizations. Philip Martin, Arkansas Online, "CRITICAL MASS: Thanksgiving is a complicated celebration. Even so, we’re lucky to be here," 24 Nov. 2019 No less than the higher electric rates and lower profits, these, too, are part of the irreducible costs of climate change. Steven Pearlstein, Washington Post, "California wildfire plan shows how we can adapt to threat of natural disasters," 23 Aug. 2019 At some point taste, like talent, becomes an irreducible entity. Hermione Hoby, The New Yorker, "What Does It Mean to Be a “Real” Writer?," 3 July 2019 Mathematicians would like to know how often irreducible polynomial equations occur. Quanta Magazine, "In the Universe of Equations, Virtually All Are Prime," 10 Dec. 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.

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First Known Use of irreducible

1633, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for irreducible

Time Traveler

The first known use of irreducible was in 1633

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Statistics for irreducible

Last Updated

27 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Irreducible.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for irreducible


How to pronounce irreducible (audio)

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

More from Merriam-Webster on irreducible

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for irreducible

Nglish: Translation of irreducible for Spanish Speakers

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