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

Many in Washington, and inside the banks, say that the way federal agencies wield power under the new administration has changed: for its supporters, becoming more reasonable and judicious; for opponents, becoming more cursory and irresponsible. The Economist, "A rare bipartisan moment allows a timid rollback of banking regulation," 24 May 2018 To many of them, Bell Pottinger’s actions felt not just irresponsible but colonial. Ed Caesar, The New Yorker, "The Reputation-Laundering Firm That Ruined Its Own Reputation," 25 May 2018 This is grossly irresponsible reporting that should be ignored. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Democrats enjoy a huge party registration advantage in midterms.," 10 July 2018 Such talk in the present climate is wildly irresponsible. The Economist, "Italy’s bond yields rise as it heads for another election," 29 May 2018 My take is that Kanye’s remarks were wholly irresponsible, lacked good judgment and came from an uneducated stance. Monique Judge, The Root, "Kanye, Words Matter!," 2 May 2018 Now, that would be irresponsible to budget for that sort of thing. Michael Klein,, "How Weavers Way Co-op thrives in this Amazon age for grocery stores," 13 Feb. 2018 The president’s tweets are irresponsible, false and disrespectful to law enforcement. Alex Pappas, Fox News, "Ex-Dem IT aide Imran Awan’s case hit with repeated delays, as feds probe new allegations," 4 May 2018 The marketing schemes and misinformation campaigns utilized by Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson and Endo are irresponsible and downright dangerous. Wayne Drash, CNN, "One state's novel idea to make Big Pharma pay for opioid epidemic," 30 Mar. 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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Statistics for irresponsible

Last Updated

21 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

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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Comments on irresponsible

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


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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