ir·​re·​triev·​able | \ ˌir-i-ˈtrē-və-bəl How to pronounce irretrievable (audio) \

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 How to pronounce irretrievability (audio) \ noun
irretrievably \ ˌir-​i-​ˈtrē-​və-​blē How to pronounce irretrievably (audio) \ 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 But those masters still represent an irretrievable loss. New York Times, "The Day the Music Burned," 11 June 2019 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

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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The first known use of irretrievable was in 1702

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Cite this Entry

“Irretrievable.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 25 January 2020.

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More Definitions for irretrievable


How to pronounce irretrievable (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of irretrievable

somewhat formal : impossible to recover or get back


ir·​re·​triev·​able | \ ˌir-i-ˈtrē-və-bəl How to pronounce irretrievable (audio) \

Kids Definition of irretrievable

: impossible to get back The lost data is irretrievable.

Other Words from irretrievable

irretrievably \ -​blē \ adverb

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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).


dull or mediocre

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