ir·​re·​vers·​ible | \ ˌir-i-ˈvər-sə-bəl How to pronounce irreversible (audio) \

Definition of irreversible

: not reversible

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Other Words from irreversible

irreversibility \ ˌir-​i-​ˌvər-​sə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce irreversible (audio) \ noun
irreversibly \ ˌir-​i-​ˈvər-​sə-​blē How to pronounce irreversible (audio) \ adverb

Examples of irreversible in a Sentence

He suffered an irreversible loss of vision. The crisis has done irreversible harm to the countries' relations.
Recent Examples on the Web This transition of power is built into their biological code and is irreversible. Katie Hunt, CNN, "How animals transfer power from one leader to another: Brute force, inheritance and consensus," 20 Jan. 2021 Last year essentially tied with 2016 as the hottest year ever recorded, and scientists say the planet is speeding toward irreversible damage. Author: Juliet Eilperin, Brady Dennis, Anchorage Daily News, "As Biden vows monumental action on climate change, a fight with the fossil fuel industry has only begun," 28 Jan. 2021 But bitcoin's decentralization also had another consequence that was more subtle yet could turn out to be more important: bitcoin transactions are irreversible. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Want to really understand how bitcoin works? Here’s a gentle primer," 26 Dec. 2020 Although sleep cycles can be disturbed and damaged by the post-infectious inflammatory process, radiologists and neurologists aren’t seeing evidence that this is irreversible. James Hamblin, The Atlantic, "The Curious Influence of COVID-19 on Sleep," 21 Dec. 2020 The storming of the Capitol occasions introspection on many things—such as the seemingly irreversible distrust of the liberal democratic project—but institutional capture is not one of them. Debasish Roy Chowdhury, Time, "Save the Sarcasm for Other Democracies. America Is Fine," 11 Jan. 2021 These diseases cause irreversible damage to brain tissue that leads to salivation, neurological symptoms, emaciation and death of the animal. Frank Sargeant, al, "Deer Hunters Alerted to Watch for CWD," 3 Jan. 2021 His family is struggling to accept the grim news from the doctor that Mseer sustained irreversible brain damage and won’t survive, Adham said. oregonlive, "Uber driver -- an Iraqi refugee working to bring new wife to U.S. -- on life support after suspected mistaken shooting," 16 Dec. 2020 This appears to be one of those awful cases where putting something off has profound, irreversible consequences. Liz Weston, oregonlive, "Liz Weston: Missed deadline for self-employed tax filings may cost survivor tens of thousands of dollars," 2 Jan. 2021

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

1630, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for irreversible

Time Traveler

The first known use of irreversible was in 1630

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Statistics for irreversible

Last Updated

15 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Irreversible.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for irreversible



English Language Learners Definition of irreversible

somewhat formal : impossible to change back to a previous condition or state


ir·​re·​vers·​i·​ble | \ ˌir-i-ˈvər-sə-bəl How to pronounce irreversible (audio) \

Kids Definition of irreversible

: impossible to change back to a previous condition : impossible to reverse irreversible harm


ir·​re·​vers·​ible | \ ˌir-i-ˈvər-sə-bəl How to pronounce irreversible (audio) \

Medical Definition of irreversible

: incapable of being reversed : not reversible an irreversible medical procedure : as
a : impossible to make run or take place backward irreversible chemical syntheses
b of a colloid : incapable of undergoing transformation from sol to gel or vice versa
c of a pathological process : of such severity that recovery is impossible irreversible brain damage

Other Words from irreversible

irreversibility \ -​ˌvər-​sə-​ˈbil-​ət-​ē How to pronounce irreversible (audio) \ noun, plural irreversibilities
irreversibly \ -​ˈvər-​sə-​blē How to pronounce irreversible (audio) \ adverb

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ir·​re·​ver·​si·​ble | \ ˌir-rə-ˈvər-sə-bəl How to pronounce irreversible (audio) \

Legal Definition of irreversible

: not reversible an irreversible decision

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