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

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 The inner sanctum of the soul, the irreducible and aboriginal seat of judgment about the objective truth of things and deeds, the freedom of conscience became even more cherished at the dawn of Christianity. Matthew Mehan, WSJ, "Compelled Political Speech Cuts Civic Friendship ‘Right in Two’," 9 Mar. 2018 The aspects of his temperament held up for mockery — the hyper-intellectualism, the snobbery, the irreducible Jewishness — doubled as weapons of seduction. A. O. Scott, New York Times, "My Woody Allen Problem," 31 Jan. 2018 The irreducible truth is that these conundrums have no definitive answer. Alaska Dispatch News, "Parents should decide for Charlie Gard," 22 July 2017 All of this ignores Germany’s irreducible handicap. Josef Joffe, WSJ, "Europe’s Struggle to Take Its Destiny Into Its Own Hands," 20 July 2017

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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The first known use of irreducible was in 1633

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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

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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).


a strong desire or propensity

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