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 irreversibility (audio) \ noun
irreversibly \ ˌir-​i-​ˈvər-​sə-​blē How to pronounce irreversibly (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

The upshots of that perception, according to Chen, can do irreversible damage. Zach Schermele, Teen Vogue, "Starting School Later Can Drastically Improve Students' Lives," 9 May 2019 For decades, physicians have had the authority to declare a person brain-dead—defined in the U.S. as the irreversible cessation of all brain function, including the brainstem—even if heart and lung activity can be maintained with machines. Amy Dockser Marcus, WSJ, "Doctors Face Scrutiny About Defining Death," 28 May 2018 Why would my doctor recommend a highly invasive, irreversible surgery without knowing my [most] recent labs or discussing my habits? Rebecca Scritchfield,, "What if physicians stopped weighing heavier patients? Health care might improve," 20 June 2018 Domestication in the true sense is irreversible, and leads to a variety of permanent changes in the animals affected—including, notably, accelerated reproduction. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "Why Are Some Animals Impossible To Domesticate?," 13 Mar. 2019 The Lion Air flight crashed last November when a faulty sensor on the plane's fuselage triggered the MCAS, sending the plane into an irreversible descent into the Java Sea, killing 189 people. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Boeing Takes Responsibility For Both 737 Max 8 Crashes and Apologizes," 4 Apr. 2019 In fact, no single country can make a significant enough impact to solve it before some of the impacts become irreversible. Emily Atkin, The New Republic, "The Global Crisis of Plastic Pollution," 16 Apr. 2018 Case and Deaton found that they are linked to frayed social and emotional support, which can cause serious and, in some cases irreversible, harm to people’s health. Clay Marsh, STAT, "Facing deaths of despair from the depths of despair in West Virginia," 12 July 2018 Like fashionable and tragic misdiagnoses of the past, this one comes with irreversible physical trauma. Abigail Shrier, WSJ, "When Your Daughter Defies Biology," 6 Jan. 2019

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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Statistics for irreversible

Last Updated

9 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for irreversible

The first known use of irreversible was in 1630

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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 irreversibility (audio) \ noun, plural irreversibilities
irreversibly \ -​ˈvər-​sə-​blē How to pronounce irreversibly (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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Comments on irreversible

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


behavior toward others

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