ir·​re·​triev·​able ˌir-i-ˈtrē-və-bəl How to pronounce irretrievable (audio)
: not retrievable : impossible to regain or recover
irretrievability noun
irretrievably adverb

Examples of irretrievable in a Sentence

The data was irretrievable after the computer crashed. the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage
Recent Examples on the Web For a moment, Zolciak and Biermann’s relationship looked irretrievable. Kelly Wynne, Peoplemag, 13 July 2023 And the only irretrievable loss of time has been due to our homeland’s irretrievable lapse into exhaustion. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, WSJ, 1 Oct. 2020 In Suzume, there are many kinds of mourning, tied to the many kinds of irretrievable, often intertwined loss — of a person, a time, a tradition, a home. Kayti Burt, Rolling Stone, 15 Apr. 2023 So breathtakingly fast and irretrievable. Paul Daugherty, The Enquirer, 7 June 2022 Her own history was irretrievable. Sam Knight, The New Yorker, 16 Aug. 2021 For Bodie, much of the past is as tantalizing and irretrievable as the meaning of private jokes in an old yearbook. Katy Waldman, The New Yorker, 20 Feb. 2023 Taking a scan of an injured brain often produces a map of irretrievable losses, revealing spots where damage causes memory difficulties or tremors. Benjamin Mueller,, 13 June 2022 The gesture, one likely to be recognized by any number of Ms. Rodin’s contemporaries whose 30s are long behind them, seemed a wistful acknowledgment that the past is irretrievable. Ruth La Ferla, New York Times, 19 Oct. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'irretrievable.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1702, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of irretrievable was in 1702

Dictionary Entries Near irretrievable

Cite this Entry

“Irretrievable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


ir·​re·​triev·​able ˌir-i-ˈtrē-və-bəl How to pronounce irretrievable (audio)
: not capable of being recovered, regained, or remedied
irretrievably adverb

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