ir·​re·​triev·​able | \ˌir-i-ˈtrē-və-bəl \

Definition of irretrievable 

: not retrievable : impossible to regain or recover

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Other Words from irretrievable

irretrievability \ˌir-​i-​ˌtrē-​və-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē \ noun
irretrievably \ˌir-​i-​ˈtrē-​və-​blē \ 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

Some of the losses incurred in my youth—most particularly, the lifelong repercussions of my time with Salinger—are irretrievable. Joyce Maynard, Vogue, "46 Years Ago, I Left Yale for J.D. Salinger—This Fall, I’m Returning," 13 Sep. 2018 This meant the dose — which cost the hospital an irretrievable $500 — had decayed and was now useless. Sarah Varney, Washington Post, "In Wisconsin, Hopes Rise For Production Of A Lifesaving Radioactive Isotope," 16 Jan. 2018 With the murder weapon irretrievable and DNA evidence unavailable, prosecutors will be forced to rely on witnesses that, for the most part, come with extensive personal baggage. Christian Boone, ajc, "Will unsavory witnesses derail Spalding cold case murder trial?," 20 June 2018 What this mix may really commemorate is one boy’s melancholy realization during the rainy spring of 1972 that the past existed and was irretrievable, except with the aid of lilacs, balsam mini- pillows, and Top 40 headcheese. Ty Burr,, "Every playlist tells a story," 14 June 2018 Nadal hit the ball at his feet, but Thiem managed a half-volley that turned into an irretrievable drop shot. New York Times, "Dominic Thiem Stuns Rafael Nadal on Madrid Clay," 11 May 2018 Untold tonnes end up as irretrievable ocean flotsam, which sunlight and salt fragment into microscopic pieces that attract toxins and may be gulped by creatures that become seafood. The Economist, "Plastic surgeryDon’t bin plastic. To solve the polymer problem look East," 1 Mar. 2018 The concrete did irretrievable damage and in 1981, it was removed and replaced with a large pole and cable system, which remain today, holding up the remaining leaders. Kate Bennett, CNN, "Exclusive: Iconic White House tree to be cut down," 26 Dec. 2017 The documents confirmed the irretrievable deletion not just of the main server but also of two backups on Aug. 9. Washington Post, "Q&A: Why wiping of Georgia elections server matters," 26 Oct. 2017

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

1702, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

21 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for irretrievable

The first known use of irretrievable was in 1702

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English Language Learners Definition of irretrievable

: impossible to recover or get back


ir·​re·​triev·​able | \ˌir-i-ˈtrē-və-bəl \

Kids Definition of irretrievable

: impossible to get back The lost data is irretrievable.

Other Words from irretrievable

irretrievably \-​blē \ adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on irretrievable

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with irretrievable

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for irretrievable

Spanish Central: Translation of irretrievable

Nglish: Translation of irretrievable for Spanish Speakers

Comments on irretrievable

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


to make faulty or ineffective

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