irregular

1 of 2

adjective

ir·​reg·​u·​lar i-ˈre-gyə-lər How to pronounce irregular (audio)
ˌi(r)-
1
a
: not being or acting in accord with laws, rules, or established custom
irregular conduct
b
: not conforming to the usual pattern of inflection
irregular verbs
specifically : strong sense 16
c
: not following a usual or prescribed procedure
especially, British : celebrated without either proclamation of the banns or publication of intention to marry
irregular marriage
2
: not belonging to or a part of a regular organized group
specifically : not belonging to a regular army but raised for a special purpose
irregular troops
3
a
: lacking perfect symmetry or evenness
an irregular coastline
b
: having one or more floral parts of the same whorl different in size, shape, or arrangement
specifically : zygomorphic
4
: lacking continuity or regularity especially of occurrence or activity
irregular employment
irregularly adverb

irregular

2 of 2

noun

: one that is irregular: such as
a
: a soldier who is not a member of a regular military force
b
irregulars plural : merchandise that has minor defects or that falls next below the manufacturer's standard for firsts
Choose the Right Synonym for irregular

irregular, anomalous, unnatural mean not conforming to rule, law, or custom.

irregular implies not conforming to a law or regulation imposed for the sake of uniformity in method, practice, or conduct.

concerned about his irregular behavior

anomalous implies not conforming to what might be expected because of the class or type to which it belongs or the laws that govern its existence.

her drive made her an anomalous figure in a sleepy organization

unnatural suggests what is contrary to nature or to principles or standards felt to be essential to the well-being of civilized society.

prisoners treated with unnatural cruelty

Example Sentences

Adjective His behavior as a teacher was highly irregular. Her application was handled in an irregular manner. a very jagged, irregular surface The stone has an irregular shape. He has a very irregular schedule. The festival has been held at irregular intervals. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
López Obrador has said it could be expanded across Central America with U.S. support to curb irregular migration. Kevin Sieff, Washington Post, 11 Jan. 2023 As irregular migration becomes more hemispheric, experts say, government management of migration needs to become more hemispheric. Henry Gass, The Christian Science Monitor, 13 Dec. 2022 George Jones dies Jones died 15 years later at the age of 81 in Nashville, less than a week after he was hospitalized for a fever and irregular blood pressure, per the Los Angeles Times. Emily J. Shiffer, Peoplemag, 2 Dec. 2022 In 2019, the last time there was a spike in irregular migration, more than 300 families — also largely from Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo — came to Southern Maine. Eileen Sullivan, New York Times, 6 Sep. 2022 This can cause irregular blood pressure, fainting, dizziness, chest and abdominal pain, brain fog and even nausea. Jessica Dulong, CNN, 22 Mar. 2022 Despite suffering hair loss, joint and muscle pain, irregular blood pressure and dizziness, routine test results for such patients usually come back normal. Fox News, 20 Apr. 2021 Sometimes, an irregular heartbeat doesn’t cause any noticeable symptoms. Beth Krietsch, SELF, 12 Dec. 2022 High doses of steroids also raise blood pressure, increase cholesterol and seem to increase the risk of an irregular heartbeat, blood clots, heart attacks and strokes. William Neff, Washington Post, 8 Dec. 2022
Noun
As volunteer companies were raised to drive out the Mexican forces — who were occupying their own country — some of the irregulars were joined by free black men. Paula Allen, ExpressNews.com, 15 Feb. 2020 Turkish troops then began shelling Kurdish towns in Syria, and Turkish forces pushed forward, irregulars executing people in ditches along the road. Time, 14 Nov. 2019 Pakistani irregulars invaded, India intervened, and the two countries fought to a stalemate. Washington Post, 15 Feb. 2019 Somehow the regulars don’t seem to mind all the irregulars who come to gawk. Joshua Levine, WSJ, 15 Jan. 2019 Instead imagine high-tech mobs, an intifada with stones and drones, locals and irregulars in improvised warfare with the feds. Lance Morrow, WSJ, 6 July 2018 Who took up arms to help their husbands in their clashes with Turkish troops and Kurdish irregulars. Stephanie Petit, PEOPLE.com, 24 Apr. 2018 The onslaught followed days of army units and pro-government irregulars mobilizing from as far as the northern city of Aleppo before massing south of the capital. Nabih Bulos, latimes.com, 20 Apr. 2018 The army's 3rd and 4th divisions, the Republican Guard, Russian forces, tribal fighters and pro-government irregulars are expected to take part in the offensive, pro-government activists said. Nabih Bulos, latimes.com, 20 Feb. 2018 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

Adjective

Middle English irreguler, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin irregularis not in accordance with rule, from Latin in- + regularis regular

First Known Use

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of irregular was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near irregular

Cite this Entry

“Irregular.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/irregular. Accessed 27 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition

irregular

1 of 2 adjective
ir·​reg·​u·​lar (ˈ)ir-ˈ(r)eg-yə-lər How to pronounce irregular (audio)
1
a
: not following custom or rule
b
: not belonging to a recognized or organized body
irregular troops
2
a
: not following the normal or usual manner of inflection
the irregular verb "sell"
b
: strong sense 12
the irregular verb "write"
3
a
: having one or more like parts unequal in size, form, or the way they are arranged
irregular flowers
b
: uneven
4
: not continuous or regular in occurrence
at irregular intervals
irregularly adverb

irregular

2 of 2 noun
1
: an irregular soldier
2
: merchandise that is slightly imperfect

Medical Definition

irregular

adjective
ir·​reg·​u·​lar (ˈ)ir-ˈ(r)eg-yə-lər How to pronounce irregular (audio)
1
: lacking perfect symmetry of form : not straight, smooth, even, or regular
irregular teeth
2
a
: lacking continuity or regularity of occurrence, activity, or function
irregular breathing
b
of a physiological function : failing to occur at regular or normal intervals
irregular menstruation
have your bowels been irregular
c
of an individual : failing to defecate at regular or normal intervals
was constipated and very irregular
irregularly adverb

Legal Definition

irregular

adjective
ir·​reg·​u·​lar ir-ˈre-gyə-lər How to pronounce irregular (audio)
: not in accord with laws, rules, procedures, or established custom
irregularly adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on irregular

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