ir·​re·​spon·​si·​ble | \ ˌir-i-ˈspän(t)-sə-bəl \

Definition of irresponsible

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: not responsible: such as
a : not answerable to higher authority an irresponsible dictatorship
b : said or done with no sense of responsibility irresponsible accusations
c : lacking a sense of responsibility
d : unable especially mentally or financially to bear responsibility



Definition of irresponsible (Entry 2 of 2)

: a person who is irresponsible

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Other Words from irresponsible


irresponsibility \ ˌir-​i-​ˌspän(t)-​sə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē \ noun
irresponsibleness \ ˌir-​i-​ˈspän(t)-​sə-​bəl-​nəs \ noun
irresponsibly \ ˌir-​i-​ˈspän(t)-​sə-​blē \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for irresponsible

Synonyms: Adjective

daredevil, devil-may-care, foolhardy, harum-scarum, hell-for-leather, kamikaze, reckless

Antonyms: Adjective


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Examples of irresponsible in a Sentence


He's too irresponsible to keep a job for more than a week. She made irresponsible comments that helped cause the riot. It would be irresponsible to ignore the threats.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

For example, most of the ills of the housing market leading up to 2008 were marked by lending practices that ranged from irresponsible to downright reckless. Jeff Andrews, Curbed, "Housing market signaled potential future downturn in 2018," 21 Dec. 2018 The Queen is said to believe the pair had been irresponsible in their infidelities, and had Camilla banned from the palace. Amanda Mitchell, Marie Claire, "Why The Queen Giving Camilla a Shoutout in Her Birthday Tribute to Prince Charles Is a Big Deal," 14 Nov. 2018 Nevertheless, the fundamental point remains: Republicans are pursuing an economic policy that is mind-boggling hypocritical – and, in the estimation of most economists, profoundly irresponsible. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "The GOP Is Embracing Fiscal Irresponsibility. That’s (Probably) for the Best.," 7 Feb. 2018 An online petition launched Tuesday by Boston activist Evan Greer is urging the university to end the contract, asserting that any collaboration with ICE is immoral and irresponsible. J.d. Capelouto,, "Northeastern University comes under fire for receiving millions from ICE through research contract," 5 July 2018 Drug manufacturers and distributors, including Insys Therapeutics founder John Kapoor and OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma, have faced suits on the issue, including for what plaintiffs say are aggressive and irresponsible opioid marketing practices. Sy Mukherjee, Fortune, "The Heirs to Music Superstar Prince's Estate Are Suing Walgreens Over His Death," 24 Apr. 2018 For instance, if evidence suggests that the incident was more of a fluke accident than a result of Bennett being aggressive or irresponsible, Bennett would not have committed a crime. Michael Mccann,, "What Michael Bennett's Indictment Means and Will It Impact His NFL Career?," 23 Mar. 2018 Mihelich-Tweet: Development is good but irresponsible development is not. Evan Frank, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Longtime Oconomowoc servant will be challenged by a newcomer in the race for mayor," 16 Mar. 2018 Some criticized her silence until this point as irresponsible, some praised her for influencing her young audience to get involved, and others just had to laugh it off. Isabel Greenberg, Harper's BAZAAR, "Twitter Is Freaking Out About Taylor Swift's Political Instagram Post," 8 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'irresponsible.' 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 irresponsible


1648, in the meaning defined above


1892, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

14 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for irresponsible

The first known use of irresponsible was in 1648

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More Definitions for irresponsible



English Language Learners Definition of irresponsible

: not having or showing maturity or good judgment : not responsible


ir·​re·​spon·​si·​ble | \ ˌir-i-ˈspän-sə-bəl \

Kids Definition of irresponsible

: having or showing little or no sense of responsibility You're too irresponsible for a pet.

Other Words from irresponsible

irresponsibly \ -​ˈspän-​sə-​blē \ adverb


ir·​re·​spon·​si·​ble | \ ˌir-i-ˈspän(t)-sə-bəl \

Medical Definition of irresponsible

: not responsible : mentally inadequate to bear responsibility

Other Words from irresponsible

irresponsibility \ -​ˌspän(t)-​sə-​ˈbil-​ət-​ē \ noun, plural -ties

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